After each matchday in La Liga and Serie A (as well as in the UEFA Champions League), Sportsnet will look at how Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo did, and compare their performances, while keeping a running tally over the course of the season.
After 320 minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first goal for Juventus in his fourth appearance on Sunday, bagging a brace in the Bianconeri’s 2-1 home win over Sassuolo.
After a frustrating first half that saw Juve dominate, the breakthrough came in the 50th minute when Sassuolo defender Gian Marco Ferrari’s headed clearance off a corner kick came off the post. Ronaldo was lurking and flicked in the rebound from two yards out in what will go down as one the easiest goals he will ever score.
The Portuguese star doubled Juve’s advantage 15 minutes later, capping off a swift counter attack by the home side with a low, precise shot that beat Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli and nestled inside the far post.
Ronaldo could have had a hat trick if not for Consigli coming up with a great save later on. Ronaldo also squandered two scoring opportunities from close range that he should have buried.
“Obviously, I was a little tense with all the talk after my move from Real Madrid and not scoring, so there were a lot of expectations, but I thank my teammates for supporting me throughout,” Ronaldo told told Sky Sport Italia.
“I knew that I was working well and it was only a matter of time. I am adapting well to Italian football.”
FC Barcelona earned its fourth consecutive victory to start the La Liga campaign on Saturday in a 2-1 decision on the road over Real Sociedad. The San Sebastian club took an early lead before Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele scored in quick succession in the second half to guide Barca to the come-from-behind win.
Lionel Messi played the full 90 minutes but he didn’t offer that much in attack, aside from taking two shots (only one on target). The Argentine ace dropped back very deep in the first half in search for the ball and never came close to scoring. He was far below his usual high standards, perhaps saving himself for Barca’s midweek match in the UEFA Champions League.
Lionel Messi in La Liga
Top line stats: 4 goals, 2 assists, 4 games played
Total minutes: 360
Total shots: 18
Shots on target: 8
Pass success rate: 82.8%
WhoScored.com rating: 8.74 (ranked #1 in La Liga)
Cristiano Ronaldo in Serie A
Top line stats: 2 goals, 1 assist, 4 games played
Total minutes: 360
Total shots: 31
Shots on target: 12
Pass success rate: 85.59%
WhoScored.com rating: 7.89 (ranked #3 in Serie A)
MATCHDAY 4: MESSI OR RONALDO?
Not much debate about it this weekend. While Messi had a relatively quiet day at the office, Ronaldo made headlines by scoring his first two goals for Juventus.
Season series to date: Tied 2-2.
Barcelona opens its group stage of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday at home against Dutch side PSV Eindhoven before welcoming Girona to the Camp Nou next Sunday in La Liga play. Juventus travels to Spain to take on Valencia in its Champions League opener on Wednesday, and then visits newly promoted Frosinone on Sunday in Serie A play.