The pair have not faced each other since Ronaldo’s Juventus move in July 2018, but a highly anticipated meeting in the top European club competition was suspended after the Portuguese star returned another positive coronavirus test.
Ronaldo has isolated himself since he first tested positive on international service with Portugal on October 13.
He returned another positive result last week and underwent additional tests to prove his fitness ahead of the Group G blockbuster game. However, 24 hours before kick-off, he did not meet UEFA’s requirements for negative tests.
Barcelona were also disrupted before kick-off. President Josep Maria Bartomeu and the club’s entire board resigned from their positions with immediate effect in response to Lionel Messi’s summer transfer saga and the club’s poor start to the season, including a loss to Clasico Real Madrid.
As well as Ronaldo, Juventus will definitely do without Giorgio Chiellini and Matthijs de Ligt, with Weston McKennie likely to be absent as well.
Pirlo is also sweating about defender Leonardo Bonucci’s fitness. Paolo Dybala is expected to be seen after his first game of the season against Hellas Verona at the weekend.
Barcelona has to do without the suspended Gerard Pique, who was sent off against Ferencvaros, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Samuel Umtiti and Philippe Coutinho are also out due to injury. Neto is expected to continue to be on target.
There will also be familiar faces on both sides. Miralem Pjanic – now in Barcelona – and Juventus midfielder Arthur switched between the two clubs in the summer, with goalkeeper Neto previously also playing for the Italian team.
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What the managers said
Juventus-Manager Andrea Pirlo said: “There are great players in Barca despite some absences. The keys for us will be desire and determination. It will be difficult, but beautiful. For 15 years, Messi and Cristiano have done great things. For the first time I will take on Messi as a coach, I will treat him with the tremendous respect he deserves.
“We’re going to play with four players in defense. This is currently the only viable solution. In the midfield it will be a challenge between two very technical departments. ”
Barcelona Manager Ronald Koeman said: “It’s a game between two great teams, we respect Juve a lot and it’s going to be a high level game.
“Juve are a great team in Europe. They will have some outages but they know how to dominate games thanks to tremendous quality players. Dybala is a great player, Morata knows how to score, the midfielders are of great value. It will be a good game. ”
Go for statistics
- This is the 14th game between Juventus and Barcelona in competitive football. The Italian giants have not scored a goal in their last three meetings with the Spanish team (D2 L1).
- Juventus’ record of six home games without defeat against Barcelona is next to the six unbeaten games against Atletico Madrid (W5 D1) the best record against a team in European competition.
- Barcelona have suffered only one defeat in their last 17 UEFA Champions League group stage matches on the road (W10 D6) and have remained unbeaten in their last 10 games.
- Juventus’ win over Dynamo Kiev on MD1 was their 99th UEFA Champions League win – they want to be the first Italian team to score 100 wins in the competition. This game with Barcelona is the 200th in the Champions League (W99 D52 L48).
- Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored more goals in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League than any other player in the competition (69 in 73 games), while in the current format of the competition (since 2003/04) only Cristiano Ronaldo (24) has more groups than stage assistants the Argentine (22).
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