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Suarez next? The 13 players to play alongside both Ronaldo and Messi

Luis Suarez’s prolific spell at Barcelona could be set to end with the star being strongly linked with a move to Juventus, the Italian champions seeking a new centre-forward to bolster their attacking options.

Suarez has established himself as one of the best players in world football in recent years and has starred in tandem with Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou, though a move this summer could see the 33-year-old join an exclusive group of players to have played alongside both the Argentine and long-term rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

The duo have battled for a status as the world’s finest footballer for more than a decade and share an incredible 11 Ballon d’Or awards between them, and ahead of Suarez’s potential move to Juventus we’ve decided to look at those fortunate enough to share dressing rooms with both icons.

Here are the 13 players to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi:

Deco

Deco was an established part of the Barcelona side that Messi first broke into as a teenage talent, the Portuguese schemer winning back-to-back league titles and the Champions League under Frank Rijkaard at the Camp Nou.

He spent four seasons with the Spanish giants before a move to the Premier League and Chelsea, in addition to winning 75 caps on the international stage with Portugal.

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It was with Portugal that Deco played alongside a young Ronaldo and the duo featured in three major tournaments together, including forming part of the side which secured a third-placed finish at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Henrik Larsson

Henrik Larsson was another member of the Barcelona team which enjoyed much success under Rijkaard, joining from Celtic and proving a popular figure during two seasons in Catalonia.

The Swedish striker was witness to a teenage Messi’s emergence at Barcelona before winning a Premier League title alongside a developing Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United, Larsson spending a brief loan spell at Old Trafford during the 2006/07 season.

Despite admitting he saw huge talent in both players, Larsson admitted he didn’t see either player reaching the record-breaking levels they have achieved in the years since.

“Messi was only 17 turning 18. He was good, he was really good but I couldn’t see what would come.

“Nobody could have seen how many goals he would have scored. Don’t forget I had Ronaldinho in the team at the same time. He was amazing, it was hard to see Messi or Cristiano going there as well.”

Gabriel Heinze

Heinze spent three seasons as a club teammate of Ronaldo’s during his time as a fans’ favourite at Manchester United, watching the young winger flourish into one of the division’s best talents.

The Argentine was comfortable centrally or a left-back and became a firm fans’ favourite during his time in the Premier League before falling out-of-favour and signing for Real Madrid.

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Ronaldo enjoyed a breakout season in Heinze’s final campaign at Old Trafford, being named as the PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year as the Red Devils won the Premier League title.

Heinze also played alongside Messi for the Argentina national side, featuring in two World Cups and a Copa America alongside the forward.

Fernando Gago

Fernando Gago’s career has proven one that has failed to live up to expectations in the eyes of many, the midfielder once tipped to be one of the world’s finest defensive midfield players.

It was that potential that convinced Real Madrid to sign the youngster from Boca Juniors, and he spent five seasons at the Bernabeu, winning back-to-back La Liga titles but failing to truly establish himself as an undisputed starter.

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Gago was joined at the club by Ronaldo following his world-record move from Manchester United in 2009 and spent three seasons playing alongside the Portuguese superstar, whilst he has played alongside Messi at international level, winning the U-20 World Cup alongside his compatriot n 2005 before making his senior debut for La Albiceleste two years later.

Carlos Tevez

Carlos Tevez starred alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in one of the Premier League greatest ever frontlines during his two-season spell at Manchester United, the duo dovetailing perfectly alongside the formidable talents of Wayne Rooney during a dominant era at Old Trafford.

Tevez was the South American battler who won plaudits for endless energy, playing with a relentless desire to hassle opposition defenders and scoring more than his fair share of goals.

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He won back-to-back league titles and the Champions League alongside Ronaldo, before the duo departed in the same summer, the Portuguese heading to Real Madrid in a record-breaking move as Tevez made a controversial switch across the Manchester divide.

Tevez also formed part of a wealth of attacking options for Argentina throughout an international career that delivered 13 goals in 76 appearances, playing alongside Messi at two separate World Cups, though he was a notable absence from the squad that finished as runners-up in 2014.

Gerard Pique

Another member of the Manchester United squad that conquered both England and Europe under Sir Alex Ferguson, Pique was, however, a bit-part player in that side as he spent the formative years of his senior career in the Premier League.

The centre-back was long regarded as a promising talent but returned to his native Barcelona in search of regular opportunities, where he has since established himself as one of the finest defenders of his generation in Catalonia.

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Playing alongside the devastating talents of Messi at Barcelona, Pique has won a staggering eight league titles and the Champions League on three occasions, being amongst the key components of a side that have dominated domestically over the past decade and longer.

Pique is amongst the few players to have completed a virtual full set of major honours with both club and country, having been part of the Spain squad which won both the World Cup and European Championships.

Angel Di Maria

A brilliant teammate for both superstars throughout a career at the very highest level, Di Maria was one of Real Madrid’s creative cast for Ronaldo during a four-year spell at the Bernabeu.

The Argentine winger made 194 appearances for Los Blancos and scored 37 goals, in addition to providing a wealth of assists as Ronaldo shattered a host of goalscoring records at the Spanish giants.

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Di Maria formed part of the side that were crowned as European champions in 2014 as the club sealed their hallowed La Decima and tenth Champions League trophy, before departing for Manchester United in an ill-fated British transfer record move.

The star has played alongside Messi for the national side since making his debut in 2008, becoming a hugely important figure for the South American superpower and racking up more than a century of caps.

Ezequiel Garay

Tipped to become one of the world’s best after signing for Real Madrid as a youngster, the Argentine centre-back spent two seasons playing alongside Ronaldo but failed to live up to expectations at the capital club.

He has since forged a fine career after moving on to the likes of Benfica, Zenit St Petersburg and Valencia, though the 33-year-old is currently a free agent after being released at the Mestalla in February following a cruciate knee ligament injury.

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The defender has featured intermittently for the Argentina national side since making his debut in 2007, despite the nation’s often unconvincing defensive record.

He has featured alongside Messi in two Copa America tournaments and the 2014 World Cup, where the duo formed part of the side that agonisingly lost the final to Germany in extra-time.

Andre Gomes

The current Everton midfielder has also played alongside the game’s two leading names, playing alongside Ronaldo for the Portuguese national side and forming part of the side that were crowned as champions of Europe with European Championship success four years ago.

The performances of the star in that tournament prompted Barcelona to splash out on Gomes, securing the player in a big-money deal from divisional rivals Valencia.

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Gomes, however, failed to live up to expectations during two seasons playing alongside Messi at the Camp Nou, despite adding a La Liga title and two Copa del Rey trophies to his growing silverware collection.

After being deemed surplus to requirements he moved to the Premier League with Everton on loan, before signing for the Merseyside club on a permanent basis in 2019.

Nelson Semedo

Semedo is another player who has played alongside Ronaldo for his nation, the right-back having won 13 caps for Portugal since making his debut five years ago, though he has struggled to hold down a regular position in the side amid fierce competition from the likes of Ricardo Pereira and Cedric.

He did, however, feature as Portugal were crowned as winners of the inaugural Nations League in 2019, being named in the competition’s Team of the Tournament.

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Semedo moved to Barcelona from Benfica three years ago and has won two league titles since moving to Spanish football, featuring regularly alongside Messi and making 124 appearances in all competitions to date.

Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain has forged a reputation as one of European football’s best goalscorers in recent years, though the forward has also played a large period of his career for both club and country in the shadows of Ronaldo and Messi.

Higuain was a young forward learning his trade on the biggest stage when Ronaldo arrived at Real Madrid from the Premier League, playing alongside the then world’s most expensive player for four seasons and winning the Spanish league title in 2012.

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The Argentine reunited with his former teammate at Juventus following Ronaldo’s switch to Italy, winning the Scudetto together before Higuain’s departure by mutual consent this summer.

Higuain has also formed part of an Argentina side – alongside Messi – that has flattered to deceive with a series of near misses in major tournaments, finishing as runners-up at the 2014 World Cup and in back-to-back Copa Americas in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Paulo Dybala

The chief support for Ronaldo over the past two seasons for Juventus, Dybala outshone his illustrious teammate to be named as the division’s most valuable player last season after securing his fifth successive Scudetto since moving to Turin.

Dybala has starred for the Bianconeri in recent seasons and will likely play a key role in the club’s hopes of securing an elusive Champions League title, the big-money signing of Ronaldo secured in the hope the forward can inspire Juventus to European success.

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The 26-year-old has also featured alongside Messi at international level but it is fair to say his international career is yet to truly spark into life, Dybala scoring just twice in 29 appearances as he has struggled to find his role in an unbalanced side overflowing with forward options.

Martin Caceres

The well travelled defender spent just a single season alongside Messi at Barcelona, though it proved to be a memorable once despite his peripheral role, the club winning a historic Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey trophy under Pep Guardiola.

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His lack of opportunities saw the Uruguayan depart and he enjoyed spells at a succession of clubs, including the likes of Juventus, Sevilla, Southampton and Lazio.

The versatile star returned to Juventus for a third spell on a short-term loan in 2019, Caceres adding a sixth Serie A title to his collection during Ronaldo’s debut season in Turin.

Read – Five of the best value-for-money players in FPL this season

Read Also – Here we go! Our Premier League predictions for the 2020/21 season are in

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