The Portuguese goal-machine proved to be, as he does most often than not, the difference-maker in the big night at Camp Nou.
Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a brace to help Juventus fire past FC Barcelona with a 3-0 result on Tuesday night.
The former Real Madrid man was returning to Spain for the first time since his shock move in 2018, but proved that he hadn’t lost the knack of scoring at Camp Nou as he netted his 13th & 14th goal at his former rivals’ home.
Juventus and Barcelona are the two teams that have qualified for the Champions League Last 16 from Group G.
Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Atalanta, Chelsea, Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, and RB Leipzig also progressed past the group stage.
They were joined by Real Madrid, Borussia Monchengladbach, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, FC Porto, and Paris Saint-Germain.
WhoScored.com recently released the 2020/21 Champions League group stage best XI based on players ratings.
The performances of only those players have been analyzed who have made at least three appearances.
GK: Manuel Neuer – 7.5 – Kept two clean sheets in five group stage games.
LB: Alex Sandro – 8.3 – Juventus conceded just one goal in the three matches that he played. Sandro also registered an assist.
CB: Niklas Sule – 7.6 – In four games that Sule played, Bayern conceded just twice. The German also opened the scoring against Lokomotiv Moscow.
CB: Christian Romero – 8.2 – Atalanta let in just three goals and never tasted defeat in the five games in which Romero played.
RB: Juan Cuadrado – 7.5 – The versatile Colombian made an impressive five assists in as many group stage games.
LM: Neymar – 8.1 – Neymar netted six goals, including a hat-trick, in what was a quite tough group. He also received three Man-of-the-Match awards in five matches.
CM: Joshua Kimmich – 8.5 – The Bayern midfielder setup three goals and scored one of his own in three games.
CM: Bruno Fernandes – 7.5 – Fernandes saved Manchester United from facing an early exit from the Champions League. He notched up a remarkable four goals and an assist in the group stage.
RM: Lionel Messi – 8.9 – A best XI without Messi? Now that seems improbable. The Barcelona talisman bagged three goals and two assists in four appearances. He is also the competition’s highest-rated player so far.
ST: Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.1 – Any best XI will be incomplete without this man in it. Ronaldo missed a game due to coronavirus he returned hungrier than ever. CR7 hit a brace against Barca, taking his tally in the group stage to four goals in as many games.
ST: Erling Haaland – 8.3 – 20-year-old Haaland just doesn’t stop impressing. The Dortmund hitman scored six goals in four games.