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FIFA World Cup 2022 – The swansong for Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo

Throughout much of the last two decades, no two players have dazzled fans of the beautiful game more than this iconic duo.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi the football icons of an entire generation in football, worthy of being considered amongst the greatest of all time.

There is one certainty in life and professional sports, when time eventually catches up with our bodies, and in football terms that gradually becomes evident in the twilight years of a career. Some are able to withstand the rigors of time better than others, almost seeming evergreen with their continued vigour and physical presence on the football pitch, which Ronaldo and Messi have both continued to demonstrate.

Yet as we fast approach the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, we must also acknowledge the truth which fans wish to admit, let alone these two remarkable players themselves. This could be the very last appearance for them at the showpiece international tournament, held every four years and considered to be the absolute pinnacle of the sport.

But we can also see this tournament as an opportunity, one last swansong for Messi and Ronaldo, both of them eager to bow out in a blaze of glory. Neither player has ever managed to lift the golden World Cup trophy, despite having won everything else they could possibly achieve in football, both in terms of individual honours and collective prizes with their teams over the years.

Lionel Messi – The Argentine Ace

lionel messi

According to latest odds available at the top World Cup 2022 betting sites, Argentina stand an excellent chance of hoisting the famous trophy aloft, which is an opportunity that Messi would undoubtedly relish as the national team captain. This is based upon reviews for online bookmakers provided by Arabian Betting, who are covering the tournament in extensive detail, highlighting where the most competitive odds and appealing promotions can be found.

Brazil are currently tipped as outright favourites, although having beaten them in the 2021 Copa America final, Argentina are seen as the strongest contenders. They have also enjoyed a remarkable unbeaten run stretching back to 2019, going 35 games without a single loss. Should they make a positive start in the group stage at the World Cup, the Argentine side and Messi could establish a new international football record.

Messi has not yet made any official announcements regarding his intentions, although in a recent interview quoted by the Mirror, he did issue strong hints confirming the possibility of retirement from international football. The 35-year-old suggested the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will “surely” be his last international tournament, providing one last attempt for him to win the most cherished prize in the sport.

This would certainly be the icing on the cake of a fabulous career, which brought huge acclaim for Messi, regarded as one of the most naturally talented players ever to grace the game. Ever since making his breakthrough at Barcelona in 2004, then debuting with the senior Argentina side in 2005, his phenomenal skills have mesmerised football afficionados around the whole globe. His collection of personal records and achievements is also quite remarkable.

Cristiano Ronaldo – The Portuguese Power

Cristiano Ronaldo

Of course, writing new records is also something that Ronaldo is also familiar with. The Portuguese star broke the international scoring record, previously held by Iranian striker Ali Daei, who had set the previous benchmark with 112 goals. Ronaldo now has 117 international goals to his name, which is a record that may never be beaten, and he seems content to continue extending even further.

Ronaldo is also the most-capped player for his national team, having made 191 appearances for Portugal, since making his international debut in 2003 at the age of 18. Just like Messi, the list of honours that Ronaldo has achieved is practically endless, both for club and country, along with having scored 817 goals throughout his career. At the time of writing, that figure is the highest by any player in professional football history.

Considered one of his greatest achievements, Ronaldo was inspirational when Portugal won the 2016 European Championships, the first international tournament ever won by his country. During an exceptional career that has taken him from Sporting CP to Manchester United and Real Madrid, then Juventus and back full circle to Manchester United again, Ronaldo has topped the scoring charts wherever he has played.

One cloud of doubt surrounds the future of Ronaldo at Manchester United, where he currently seems to have fallen out of favour, yet it could also provide this mythical figure with even further inspiration. He has never spoken about any intentions to retire, although it would seem fairly obvious that now aged 37, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is likely to be his last. What an achievement it would be, if he could lead Portugal to the ultimate victory.

 

 

 

 

 

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