For the first time since 2004-05 the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals will feature neither of the world's established two best players – Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
While Ronaldo and Juventus exited the competition in Turin at the hands of Porto, Messi and co were seen off by the superstar bandwagon Paris Saint Germain in Paris.
Ronaldo joined Juventus having previously won Europe's top competition once with Manchester United (2008) and four times with Real Madrid (2014, 2016-18). He is the competition's all-time leading scorer with 134 goals.
Meanwhile, Messi, who has scored in 16 consecutive seasons in the competition has netted 120 goals but is one title behind Ronaldo with 4 to his name.
The pair ended 2014/15 level on 77 goals but since then Ronaldo pulled away and leads 134–120 in terms of UEFA Champions League goals. In all UEFA club competition action the scoreline is 137–123 in the Portuguese forward’s favour.
The two players, who are the only ones to have scored more than 100 goals in the history of the Champions League, were up against each other yet again this year though in the group stages with their teams registering away wins.
The Old Lady’s exit marks the third time (Ajax, 2019; Lyon, 2020; Porto, 2021) they have failed to progress past the quarter-finals since signing Ronaldo, having reached the final twice in four years before he joined.
On the other hand, Barcelona have failed to reach the UCL quarter-finals for the first time since 2006-07. This snaps their run of 13 consecutive quarterfinal appearances, the longest in the competition's history.
What Happened in 2004/05?
No Messi or Ronaldo in the last 8 of the UEFA Champions League takes us back down memory lane to a very dramatic finale in the competition.
The final was played between AC Milan, who sent Manchester United and Ronaldo packing, and Liverpool. Messi and Barcelona were eliminated by Chelsea in the last 16.
The Steve Gerrard led Liverpool ensured the night at Istanbul would be a part of football folklore as they stunned a very strong AC Milan to lift their fifth title.
Down 0-3 at half-time to Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan, which boasted of players like Paolo Maldini, Cafu, Kaka and Hernan Crespon, Liverpool with Gerrard and Xabi Alonso, Cristiano’s teammate at Real Madrid later, came back and won the final in a penalty shoot-out.