Pirlo in agreement with Koeman over Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo debate

Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo has agreed with his Barcelona counterpart Ronald Koeman that picking the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi would not be right.

The two greatest players of the generation will meet for the first time since 2018 after Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus.

A positive coronavirus test in October meant Ronaldo was unable to play in the first match of the group, which was won 2-0 by Barcelona in Turin with Messi scoring a stoppage-time penalty.

Both players are in the final stretch of their careers but still hold major influences on their teams and continue to divide opinion over who is better.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi back in 2017 in a La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona

Ahead of the match, Koeman was pressed to give his view but declined.

“It’s not nice to say who is better because both are incredible,” he said.

“I admire both players because they have given us so many nice evenings with great goals, great titles.”

These two go head to head again tonight

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And Ronaldo’s manager was similarly reluctant to split the two players.

“Koeman was right, it would be wrong to say who is better between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo,” Pirlo added.

“They are two phenomenons that put on spectacles for millions of fans. We just have to thank them.”

Juventus need to win by two clear goals to finish top of the group but Pirlo insists competing hard will be the key to victory for his side.

He said: “This match is especially important for our growth and self-esteem. Coming first is important, but what we put in on the pitch is even more important.

“Compared to the first game, we need to improve the non-possession phase and be closer to the midfield and defensive lines. In the derby [against Torino], we had a completely different attitude between the first and second half, winning all the duels. This is the attitude that is part of Juve’s DNA and must never be missing.”

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