LISBON - Argentina's Lionel Messi and
Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo will headline a match set to
showcase plenty of attacking flair when they take their Spanish
rivalry to Switzerland for a friendly on Wednesday.
World Player of the Year Messi has been on fire this season
for La Liga leaders Barcelona with 24 league goals, while
Ronaldo is living up to his tag as the world's most expensive
player with the same number of strikes for chasers Real Madrid.
"For me, it is not just about Ronaldo against Messi, but
above all about Portugal against Argentina - individual duels
are for the fans (to enjoy)," Portugal coach Paulo Bento said
ahead of the match in Geneva.
"We have to bring out the best in Ronaldo within a team
dynamic, and ensure they cannot do that with Messi," he added.
Bento took charge in September after Carlos Queiroz was
sacked for insulting anti-doping agents, and has been praised
for reviving Portugal's Euro 2012 qualifying hopes after a poor
start with wins over Denmark and Iceland.
A 4-0 thumping of World Cup winners Spain in November showed
a more attacking style than under Queiroz, and by selecting
tricky winger Ricardo Quaresma for Wednesday's friendly Bento
signalled he wants Portugal to show flair as they continue to
"We want to win and play well. It is an important game to
prepare the key qualifier against Norway in June," Bento said.
The game is also important for Argentina, with coach Sergio
Batista using the chance to test out new players ahead of the
Copa America to be played on home soil in July.
Batista said resting strikers Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero
and defenders Gabriel Heinze and Martin Demichelis did not
represent a punishment.
The coach is expected to give Velez Sarsfield forward Juan
Manuel Martinez, viewed as one of the best players in the
Argentine league, a debut cap.
Batista, who took over from Diego Maradona after last year's
World Cup, may also use Messi in a central role in attack to
test how he links up with playmaker Javier Pastore.
Portugal: Eduardo; Jose Bosingwa, Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno
Alves, Fabio Coentrao; Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Carlos
Martins; Nani, Helder Postiga, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Argentina: Sergio Romero; Pablo Zabaleta, Nicolas Burdisso,
Gabriel Milito, Ezequiel Garay; Ever Banega, Javier Mascherano,
Javier Pastore; Juan Manuel Martinez, Lionel Messi, Ezequiel
Central defender fit enough to play in the Champions League final at Wembley
Bayern Munich unfazed by the need to be more clinical in attack against Borussia Dortmund
Ruud Gullit believes Bayern Munich are in for a shock when they take on Borussia Dortmund
Napoli president denies reports that he has named Rafael Benitez as club's new manager
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010