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Barcelona-Juventus was supposed to be Messi vs. Ronaldo. Instead it reminded us the iconic rivalry is in its last gasps

When the group stage was drawn for the UEFA Champions League, the games that immediately seized the imagination were the Group G home-and-away matchups between Barcelona and Juventus.

It would be like the good old days, when they would meet with Barca and Real Madrid and their rivalry was in its full pomp. They overlapped for nine seasons there, from 2009-10 through 2017-18, when their personal competition and enmity was regular and stretched the boundaries of possibility. They burnished their reputations as the best players of all time — a subject about which there can no longer be any reasonable or intellectually honest debate.