Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will play their fifth World Cup. Here we will review how they arrive at Qatar 2022 and we will remember their performances in past editions.
Photos: IG-cristiano, IG-leomessi
LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González
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A World Cup with Lionel Messi but without Cristiano Ronaldo (or vice versa) would not be an attractive World Cup, and not because one is better than the other, but because of what this rivalry represents for this sport. And it is that the two greatest figures of current football will arrive in Qatar in 2022 with a new opportunity -and perhaps the last- to try to win the most desired trophy at the national team level. Will Portugal or Argentina be able to become world champions at the hands of their respective legends?
The path of both teams has been completely different, but they will still be present at the biggest event in world football. Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will play their fifth World Cup at the ages of 37 and 34, respectively, which has made many of us wonder if they will have a "last dance" in style. That is why for this occasion we bring you a compilation of the performance of both in past World Cup editions, as well as how they arrive at Qatar 2022.
Messi and Argentina, in search of revenge
The CONMEBOL Qualifiers were marked by several details, among them the unbeaten record of the Argentine team that was combined with a great collective level. During that journey, Messi was once again the mainstay of his team and scored a total of 7 goals in 13 appearances, some of them scoring important points. In this way, Argentina finished second and now all the eyes of the world will be on her and her "10" again, who will seek to lift the cup in Qatar 2022.
How were your performances in the previous editions of the World Cup? With José Pékerman at the helm of the "albiceleste", the 2006 World Cup in Germany was the stage for Messi to make his debut. On matchday two, against Serbia and Montenegro, he came on in the 75th minute and twelve minutes later sealed the 6-0 victory with his only goal of this edition. Argentina would later fall in the quarterfinals against Germany.
In South Africa, in 2010 the expectations would be gigantic because, in addition to debuting the "10" on his back, he would have the legendary Argentine "10" as his coach: Diego Maradona. This time, Messi would start in all the matches (he did not score goals), and just as had happened four years ago, they were eliminated in the quarterfinals again against Germany.
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil would have an important plus, since winning the cup at the home of its greatest rival would be tremendous. And it is that, unlike previous years, this Argentina displayed an exceptional style of play that knew how to combine with the great present of Messi. The now Argentine captain scored 4 goals in total, all in the group stage. Only one team could stop them and it was none other than Germany and in the very final.
Finally, Russia 2018 was to be forgotten. Not only did they come close to remaining in the group stage, but they fell in the round of 16 to a France that outmaneuvered them tactically. Here, Messi only scored one goal and it was against Nigeria on matchday three. His general numbers in these four World Cups are 6 goals in 19 games, with a goal average of 0.32. Will he have his revenge in Qatar?
Cristiano and Portugal, for the definitive consolidation
Although it seemed like an accessible group, Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo failed to qualify directly for Qatar 2022 after losing to Serbia on the last day. This resulted in playing two more games for the playoffs, where they won over Turkey and North Macedonia. And it is that as expected, CR7 gave everything for his team from start to finish, contributing a total of 6 goals and several assists, highlighting the one that served to open the scoring in the decisive match for the World Cup ticket.
And how did Cristiano do in the last World Cups? He was called to be the young player to watch for Germany in 2006. The Portuguese team finished fourth thanks to the combination of experienced players and promising youngsters. In the end, CR7 played in 6 games (all of them started) and scored a goal in the 2-0 victory against Iran on matchday two.
Already for South Africa 2010 began his stage as captain of Portugal. Although they aimed to reach the semi-finals again, they fell in the round of 16 when they met Spain. Cristiano participated in all four games as a starter, scoring just one goal in the 7-0 thrashing of North Korea, also on matchday two.
The next World Cup event would be in Brazil in 2014, which turned out to be disastrous for both Cristiano and Portugal. They only got 4 points and on goal difference, they finished third in the group stage. In this edition, the frustration of CR7 was noted, who was once again the starter and captain in the three games, scoring his only goal in the 2-1 win against Ghana on the third date.
Finally, for Russia 2018 he improved his goalscoring records by scoring 4 times, three of them in the 3-3 draw against Spain on the first date. Despite this great start and the desire to reach the seventh game, they were eliminated in the round of 16 at the hands of Uruguay. In total, during these four World Cups, Cristiano played 17 times with 7 goals and a goal average of 0.41. Can it be overcome in Qatar 2022?