Portugal vs Argentina: International friendly match preview

A look ahead to this week’s international friendly at Old Trafford

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The Independent Online

Old Trafford will be the backdrop of the eighth meeting between Argentina and Portugal this Tuesday.

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It is just the second time the two nations have met since 1972 and it will be the second clash of the season between football’s two biggest stars: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Their first meeting dates back to 2011, which ended in a 2-1 victory for the Argentines.

Messi recently became the Champions League all-time goals scorer, while Ronaldo became the all-time European Championship goal-scorer last week.

Juventus striker Carlos Tevez has returned to the Argentina squad again after a three-year absence. The former Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella refused to take Tevez to Brazil last summer but he has made his comeback into the squad.

Manchester United's Angel Di Maria and City’s Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta are all fit enough to play on Tuesday evening.

Ronaldo is set to talk to Messi personally prior to the game about a rumour spread a few weeks ago. The Portugese superstar was reported to have a nickname for his rival but denies all accusations. "This is absolutely false and I have assured my lawyer takes action to sue those responsible," said Ronaldo. "I have the utmost respect for all my professional colleagues, and Messi is obviously no exception."

The two superstars have not been able to attract a large audience for the match - just 36,000 tickets have been sold, less than half of Old Trafford's 75,731 capacity.

KICK-OFF: Tuesday 19:45

PAST MEETINGS...

2011 Argentina 2 (Messi, Di Maria) Portugal 1 (Ronaldo)

1972 Portugal 3 Argentina 1

STATS...

Ronaldo and Messi meeting each other for the 27 time but only the second time on international stage.

Ronaldo’s side winning 7 times and Messi’s side 12 times.

Argentina current holds second place on the FIFA world ranking, Portugal ninth.

On Argentina’s side two players have been noiminated for the Ballon d’Or (Messi and di Maria)

On Portugal side 1 player has been nominated (Ronaldo)

Messi and Ronaldo have won the trophy between them in the past 6 years (Messi 4, Ronaldo 2)

ODDS...

Argentina to win 2.4

Draw 3.5

Portugal to win 2.45

TV: Live on MUTV at 7.45pm

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