Longtime club rivals in the Champions League and Spain, the gifted forwards have never come up against each other on national team duty because the friendly in neutral Switzerland is their countries’ first meeting in almost 40 years.
The historic clash arrives with Barcelona’s Messi and Real Madrid’s Ronaldo locked at the top of the Spanish scoring chart with 24 league goals each.
Portugal coach Paulo Bento downplayed talk of a personal duel between the two most recent winners of FIFA’s world player award.
Bento says “it’s not about individual rivalry. I doubt whether Ronaldo or Messi see it that way, either.”