It’s most likely the Goats’ final dance on the World Cup stage. Can Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo win the international football’s crown jewel? Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo could cap off illustrious careers by winning the World Cup in Qatar in 2022. With over 1,600 goals and over 50 major titles for club and country between them, these two icons have elevated the game to a new level:
Few players in history have ever been this good for so long. For over a decade, the great debate has been about who is better: Messi or Ronaldo. The World Cup in Qatar could provide the ideal piece of ammunition for either side of the debate. If Argentina’s or Portugal’s captains won the most coveted prize in world football, their star would shine even brighter in the constellation of the greats. So, Cristiano or Leo, who is more likely to do it? Both are competing in the Qatar 2022 quarter-finals.
Also Read: France 3-1 Poland in last-16 clash
Despite having enough medals to fill two museums, Messi and Ronaldo have never won a World Cup. While Messi has a record seven Ballon d’Or (Best player in the world) awards and Ronaldo has five, neither has lifted the World Cup trophy. And, with Ronaldo now 37 and Messi 35, Qatar is likely to be their final opportunity. Messi is playing in his fifth World Cup, and he has nine goals in 23 games. CR7 is also playing in his fifth World Cup and has eight goals in 21 appearances. On Thursday (November 24), the Portuguese superstar made history by becoming the first male player to score in five World Cups.
Can Leo Messi win the World Cup?
With the form he and Argentina are in right now, Leo Messi lifting the FIFA World Cup Trophy would be a crowning moment for the Argentine superstar. Argentina’s most capped player and all-time leading goalscorer are in his fifth World Cup finals appearance. In 2006, he became the country’s youngest star to play and score in a FIFA World Cup.
Also Read: Netherlands 3-1 USA in last-16 clash
Messi was instrumental in Argentina reaching the 2014 World Cup final, where they lost 0-1 to Germany, and after a disappointing 2018 World Cup, la albiceleste is back in the hunt for the title. After the disappointment of 2018, Jorge Sampaoli was replaced as manager by Lionel Scaloni, and the new coach has found a formula that has re-energized Argentina. Argentina won the Copa America in 2021, led by Messi and another Olympic champion, Angel Di Maria, and won the Finalissima in 2022.
Leo Messi’s last World Cup: “Anxiety and nerves”
Messi was spectacular in Brazil in 2014, leading Argentina to the World Cup final, which Germany won 1-0 in extra time. Messi received the Golden Ball as the tournament MVP, but the ultimate prize eluded him. Fast forward eight years and the still-magical Messi will captain Argentina as a PSG player at the age of 35. He claims it will be his last shot at the big one: I’m nervous and anxious at the same time… “It’s the last one,” Messi said in a Star Plus interview. Argentina won the World Cup in 1978 and 1986, both times led by Diego Maradona.
Messi has spent his entire career in Maradona’s shadow, having been heralded as his successor since the age of 17, when his extraterrestrial talent led Argentina to the FIFA World Youth Championship, just as Diego Maradona had done before him in 1979. And, while Messi has far outperformed Maradona in his club career, winning the World Cup would put an end to all debate.
Also Read: Brazil 4-1 South Korea in the last-16 clash
Messi’s professional statistics
After winning the FIFA Youth World Championship at the age of 17, Messi went on to win Olympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Games and rewrote club history with Barcelona: Ten La Liga championships, seven Copa Del Rey trophies, four UEFA Champions League triumphs, and three FIFA World Club Cup victories. In his first season with PSG in 2021, he won the Ligue 1 title in France.
How many goals has Leo Messi scored in his career?
At the time of writing, Messi has 691 club goals and counting, as well as a staggering 248 assists. His international goal tally currently stands at 93, and he has nine World Cup goals in 23 appearances.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s last World Cup
Ronaldo has even stated that this will be his final World Cup, telling Bein Sports: I believe Qatar may be my final World Cup. Ronaldo has 193 caps for Portugal, a European record, and is their all-time leading scorer with 118 goals at the time of writing. He, like Messi, has played in four World Cup finals, but his best performance with the Selecao was reaching the semi-finals in Germany in 2006. Portugal is confident of winning Euro 2016 as well as the Nations League in 2019. There is a new generation of young Portuguese talent waiting to burst forth at the World Cup.
Joao Felix, Ruben Dias, Bruno Fernandes, Gonzalo Guedes, Diogo Dalot, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Renato Sanches, Francisco Trincao, Diogo Jota, and William Carvalho provide a well-rounded feel for Portugal, with a strong mix of youth and experience.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s career stats
Cristiano Ronaldo’s achievements speak for themselves: seven league titles, five UEFA Champions Leagues, the UEFA European Championship, three FIFA World Club Cup titles, and a half-dozen domestic cups. He holds the records for the most Champions League appearances (183), goals (140), assists (42), goals in the European Championship (14), international goals (118), and international appearances by a European (193). A World Cup winner’s medal would round out a stunning CV and put an end to all debates about the G.O.A.T. for his supporters.