After an exhilarating week of Champions League football which saw Barcelona crash out of the competition and Real Madrid edge Juventus by the skin of their teeth, a lot has been made of the performances of the Spanish clubs’ two star men.
Cristiano Ronaldo of course hit the penalty that sent Juve crashing out of Europe, whereas Lionel Messi had a rather anonymous performance as Barcelona saw their three goal cushion against Roma evaporate at the Stadio Olimpico as the Catalans exited Europe.
Former Barcelona player Alexander Hleb was speaking to the Russian outlet Sport Expressabout the pair’s impact on their respective teams, and criticised Messi’s leadership skills in comparison to that of his Portugese rival:
…Of course Messi is the best in the world. He is the leader of Barcelona. He has the mission to help the team in difficult times and he couldn’t create even one goal. He was impotent.
With all respect to Leo, Ronaldo is a better leader of his team than Messi.
Hleb’s critique of Messi may be a tad harsh, but the Argentinian did look off colour against Roma. A video which has emerged after the quarter final ties shows both players’ reaction to the goals that were scored against their teams, and their reactions does somewhat reinforce Hleb’s point. In the video it shows Ronaldo trying to rouse his team mates into a response after each conceded goal whereas and Messi’s response to each setback was to hang his head in disappointment.