Lionel Messi is still hoping Cristiano Ronaldo can take part in next week’s Champions League clash between Barcelona and Juventus despite the Portuguese forward testing positive for coronavirus.
The 35-year-old initially tested positive for Covid-19 on October 13 while on international duty, forcing him to withdraw from the squad and self-isolate, and he has missed Juve’s subsequent two matches against Crotone and Dynamo Kyiv.
Juve host Barca next Wednesday and, in line with Uefa protocols, the asymptomatic Ronaldo had another test today – a week out from the match – but still has the virus.
His participation in the much-anticipated clash between two of football’s greatest ever players is therefore in doubt, though Juventus hope to be afforded special dispensation to test Ronaldo once more 48 hours before the match.
Messi would certainly be happy for that to happen and is keen for Ronaldo to fight off coronavirus and be involved in the match between Juve and Barca.
‘Obviously when Cristiano played for Real Madrid the games were special,’ Messi told DAZN ahead of this weekend’s Clasico.
‘Matches against them always are [special], but with Cristiano on the pitch they took on a particular significance.
‘That is now in the past and we look forward to today’s challenges. Wednesday there could be this challenge and we hope Cristiano can be there and will soon recover from Covid.’
On his Clasico meetings with Ronaldo, Messi added: ‘The ones with Cristiano were and are a special duel which will remain forever. They last many years and it is not easy to maintain those levels for such a long time.
‘Our teams were also very demanding: Real Madrid and Barcelona, the two strongest clubs in the world. Competing as equals for so many years is something that will remain forever.
‘The duel between me and Cristiano was very good on a personal level and I think people enjoyed it. The fans of Real, Barca, but in general all football fans, have seen a great show. We hope to give them even more emotions [on Wednesday].’
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