Finally, Ronaldo and Messi meet on national stage

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The Independent Football

At least 85 countries will be enjoying live coverage of the pick of tonight's other friendlies when Lionel Messi takes on Cristiano Ronaldo, or more precisely Portugal play Argentina in Geneva.

It is the first time the two nations have played each other in nearly 40 years and both sides go into the game buoyed by recent success. Portugal, under their new coach Paulo Bento, thrashed the world champions Spain 4-0 in November, while Argentina beat Brazil 1-0.

However, most eyes will be on the latest chapter in the duel between Barcelona's Messi and Ronaldo of Real Madrid, with the reigning World Player of the Year and his immediate predecessor currently locked on 24 goals at the top of this season's La Liga scoring chart.

"As far as I'm concerned this is Portugal against Argentina," Bento said. "It's not about individual rivalry. I doubt whether Ronaldo or Messi see it that way, either."

As his side prepare for the Copa America in July, Messi is likely to be handed a slightly different role by the Argentina coach, Sergio Batista, moving into the centre of attack – in the absence of the rested Carlos Tevez – to link up with the playmaker Javier Pastore.