It is the last international game for the year and Portugal‘s Cristiano Ronaldo takes on Argentina‘s Lionel Messi and Angel di Maria.
International friendlies aren’t usually games that fans, neutral or otherwise, really look forward to. At best, they are a spectacle for people who go to the stadium and watch, as it will give them a chance to watch their heroes in action. But this time, there is at least one game that is sure to be of interest to the good people who sit at home and watch it on the telly.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been waging a battle for supremacy ever since Ronaldo was at Old Trafford, but it got more intensified after he moved to Real Madrid and was in direct competition with Messi. The battles have been fought for their clubs, but now it goes to the international stage. It may be a friendly, but you can be sure that daggers will be drawn and neither player or team will let this one go easily.
On paper, Argentina has the clear upper hand, with stars like Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Carlos Tevez to team up with Messi. Add to that the solidity of Pablo Zabaleta and Javier Mascherano and you have a team that is good as it gets. On the subs, the coach can call upon Erik Lamela, Ever Banega, etc who can definitely be a handful for any opposition.
Portugal, on the other hand, have not too many stars to help Ronaldo. Sure, there are names in the team sheet that were good once, like Bosingwa, Carvalho, Nani, etc., but as the World Cup in Brazil proved, they are not up to the task and Ronaldo himself cannot drag the team all the time. But since this is a one off game, and since his rival is going to be opposite, Ronaldo may yet be raring to go and do it all on his own, fitness permitting.
The two teams have met each other for 7 times, and predictably, Argentina has had the upper hand with 5 wins, with one of the other two ending in a draw. With a sole consolation win against the South American team, Portugal would certainly want to make the record look better, even if it is a friendly.
The advantage they would have going into this game would be the fact that they have already played competitive games, and they would be coming off one, a Euro 2016 qualifier while Argentina has not played a single competitive game since the final of the World Cup.
The last time the two teams played was in February 2011, which Argentina won 2-1 thanks to a last minute penalty from Messi. And to back any further would be as far back as 1972.
Portugal – Patricio; Bosingwa, Carvalho, Pepe, Guerreiro; Tiago, Danny, Moutinho, Nani; Ronaldo, Eder
Argentina – Caballero; Zabaleta, Otamendi, Demichelis, Ansaldi; Mascherano, Perez; Di Maria, Messi, Aguero; Tevez