Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are undoubtedly the top two superstars in the world of football, and it was not surprising that the biggest football news this year involved the two players following their transfers in the summer.
A lot of football stakeholders didn’t believe Messi could leave Barcelona until French giants Paris Saint Germain (PSG) snapped him up on a free transfer. A few days earlier, Catalan giants Barcelona had announced that the Argentine football wizard will leave the club and a lot of the football stakeholders found it hard to believe until his move to the Parc des Princes was completed on August 14.
Messi has not had the best of starts since joining PSG as a free agent. His time at PSG has been affected by a lack of fitness and injury thus affecting his attacking output. As a result of the aforementioned injury and fitness issues, he has missed half of the ten PSG matches played since his arrival till date.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was in sensational form during the summer as he led Argentina to end their 28-year trophy drought at the latest Copa America tournament hosted in Brazil thereby winning his first trophy at senior level. Messi had an extended holiday due to his participation at the Copa America tournament and this meant that he lacked the necessary fitness level when he became a PSG player. To this effect, the ex-Barcelona skipper was left out of the first two games as he gained full fitness.
Messi missed the Strasbourg (home) and Brest (away) games before he made his PSG debut against Reims on August 29. The Argentine national team captain had a likely first game for PSG having come on as a substitute for his friend, Neymar around the midway point in the second half and shortly after a second Kylian Mbappe sealed a 2-0 win.
The Argentine would go on to make his full PSG debut during the disappointing 1-1 draw at Belgian side Club Bruggein the Champions League on September 15. He had missed the league game at home to Clermont Foot four days earlier due to his commitment with Argentina during the international break.
PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino was in the face of the media when he subbed Messi offon 76 minutes during the league game at home to Lyon on September 19 with the scoreline at 1-1. PSG would go on to win the game 2-1 thanks to the stoppage time strike from second half substitute Mauro Icardi.
Messi was then absent for the next two PSG games because of a knee injury. His next appearance came in the blockbuster Champions League clash at home to Manchester City and he was able to announce himself to the PSG fans with an excellent strike to wrap up a 2-0 win over the Premier League champions.
In his fifth PSG game, Messi could not save his team from a 2-0 defeat at Rennes in the league though he came closest to scoring for PSG after he hit the crossbar via a well taken free kick as the French Ligue 1 leaders suffered their first league defeat. In general, Messi has had an underwhelming start to his PSG career though he has battled with fitness and injury issues as pointed out earlier. PSG fans would be hoping that the little magician gets back to his excellent Barcelona form.
Football fans were stunned during the final week of this summer’s transfer window when Manchester United sealed a return for Cristiano Ronaldo after twelve (12) years. Manchester United re-signed Ronaldo on August 31 having won the race for his signature ahead of rivals Manchester City. The Portuguese national team talisman had a fantastic second debut for the Red Devils with a brace during the 4-1 thumping of Newcastle United at home in the Premier League.
Ronaldo then made it three goals in two matches as he scored on his second Champions League debutduring the 2-1 defeat at the home of Swiss champions Young Boys. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner took his tally to four goals in three games on his return to the Theatre of Dreams as the Red Devils secured a late 2-1 win over hosts West Ham United.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rested Ronaldo and several big hitters as they were eliminated from the Carabao Cup thanks to a 1-0 home defeat to West Ham United at the third-round stage. Ronaldo failed to score for the first time during his second spell at Old Trafford penultimate weekendas Manchester United were stunned at home by Aston Villa in the league.Courtney Hause scored for Villa via a second half header as the Red Devils lost 1-0 to their visitors thereby suffering a big dent to their Premier League title credentials.
Ronaldo is the all-time leading goalscorer in the history of the Champions League and he showed his quality once again in the competition when he scored in stoppage time to secure a 2-1 win at home to Spanish team Villarreal for Manchester United. His goal gave the Red Devils their first win in the Champions League this season. He was then rested from the start for the 1-1 draw at home to Everton in the latest Manchester United game.
Ronaldo came on as a substitute in the second half while his team was leading 1-0. In the end, he could not propel the Red Devils to the win that could have taken them to the top of the league standings at the expense of Everton. In summary, Ronaldo has had a goal-filled return to Manchester United though that has not necessarily transmitted into huge success for his team. He has five goals in five starts and one substitute appearance in all competitions.