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Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: An era-defining rivalry and a remaining shot at World Cup glory

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They’ve damaged all of the data however can they win a World Cup?

November 18, 2022

High illustration: Nazario Graziano / agencyrush.com

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have outlined one another’s careers, legacies and the world of soccer for greater than a decade.

They’ve managed to match one another, scaling beforehand unmapped heights, but they embody totally different philosophies.

There may be Messi — shorter, extra introverted, a pure footballing genius who shares his creativity with the group, aiding virtually as a lot as he scores. After which there’s Ronaldo — taller, a bodily specimen who bulldozes his means by defenses, grafting and coaching till he was merely higher than anybody else on the sphere.

However for all their accolades, neither has received the World Cup. The Qatar 2022 competitors could possibly be their final probability to find out whether or not one among them can lastly win the largest trophy of all.

See how the star gamers match up, going again to their skilled debuts.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi

Aug. 2002

Ronaldo makes skilled debut at 17 years previous, enjoying for Portuguese facet Sporting Clube de Portugal.

Cristiano Ronaldo enjoying for Sporting CP in his first season. Julio Azevedo/Icon Sport/Getty Photographs

Aug. 2003

Wins first Portugal cap at 18, approaching as an alternative in opposition to Kazakhstan.

Ronaldo fights for the ball in opposition to Kazakhstan throughout a pleasant in 2003. Antonio Simoes/EPA/Shutterstock

Oct. 2004

At 17 years previous, Messi makes first of 778 appearances for Barcelona. On the time, he’s the youngest to symbolize the membership in an official recreation.

Lionel Messi controls the ball throughout a personal picture session for El Gráfico journal on October 12, 2003, in Rosario, Argentina. Marcelo Boeri/El Grafico/Getty Photographs

Aug. 2005

Makes Argentina debut, at 18 years previous, as an alternative in a pleasant match in opposition to Hungary, however is distributed off simply two minutes later.

Messi is comforted by his teammates after he obtained a purple card in opposition to Hungary. Attila Kisbenede/AFP/Getty Photographs

June 2006

Nets first of seven World Cup objectives, scored throughout 4 tournaments, to turn out to be — at 21 years previous — the youngest Portuguese participant to attain in a World Cup.

Ronaldo hurdles a problem through the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Clive Mason/Getty Photographs

Turns into youngest participant to symbolize Argentina at a World Cup and scores inside 13 minutes, changing into sixth-youngest goalscorer within the match’s historical past.

Messi celebrates scoring a purpose through the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Laurence Griffiths/Getty Photographs

Apr. 2007

Scores arguably his biggest purpose as he weaves previous a number of Getafe defenders. One among 672 strikes for Barça.

Messi celebrates after scoring his purpose in opposition to Getafe. Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Photographs

Could 2009

Evokes Barcelona to beat Ronaldo’s Manchester United in Champions League remaining, his second of 4 titles. He finishes the match as its prime scorer.

Messi celebrates after successful the UEFA Champions League in 2009. Etsuo Hara/Getty Photographs

July 2009

Joins Actual Madrid from Manchester United for a then-world file $130 million price.

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Ronaldo is offered to a full home on the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. Denis Doyle/Getty Photographs

Nov. 2009

After inspiring Barça to a historic three trophies in a single season, the 22-year-old turns into first Argentine to win Ballon d’Or.

Messi holds up his Ballon d’Or award in 2009. Denis Doyle/Getty Photographs

Dec. 2009

Wins the inaugural Puskás Award for his electrifying 40-yard purpose — the ball traveled a mean velocity of 64 miles per hour — for Manchester United in opposition to Porto.

Ronaldo receives the FIFA Puskás Award for probably the most excellent purpose of the 2008/09 season. Michael Regan/FIFA/Getty Photographs

July 2010

Argentina knocked out of the 2010 World Cup by Germany within the quarterfinals. Messi is known as within the Crew of the Match, however he suffers accusations of caring extra about membership than nation.

Messi leaves the pitch dejected after crashing out of the FIFA World Cup in 2010. Paul Gilham/FIFA/Getty Photographs

Apr. 2011

Time journal names Messi as one of the vital influential individuals on the earth for the primary of two consecutive years.

Time Journal

Mar. 2012

At 24, he breaks Barcelona’s scoring file and scores a file 91 objectives in the identical calendar 12 months.

Messi offers a thumbs up throughout a La Liga match between Barcelona and Granada. David Ramos/Getty Photographs

Apr. 2014

Time journal names Ronaldo among the many 100 most influential individuals of the 12 months.

Ronaldo lifts the Champions League trophy after the UEFA Champions League remaining in opposition to Atlético Madrid. Laurence Griffiths/Getty Photographs

July 2014

Argentina loses to Germany within the World Cup remaining. Messi wins a match file of 4 man-of-the match awards in a single World Cup and accepts the Golden Ball award for participant of the match with seven objectives.

Messi dejected after dropping the World Cup remaining in 2014. Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Photographs

Nov. 2014

Messi turns into La Liga’s all-time prime scorer after a hat-trick in opposition to Sevilla, breaking Telmo Zarra’s file of 251 objectives.

Messi is thrown into the air by his teammates as they rejoice his new file. Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Photographs

The CR7 galaxy is known as after the soccer star, on the finish of a season the place he loved probably the most prolific marketing campaign of his membership profession, scoring 61 occasions in 54 video games.

An artist’s impression of CR7, a really distant galaxy found utilizing ESO’s Very Giant Telescope. M. Kornmesser/ESO

Oct. 2015

Turns into Actual’s all-time main scorer with 324 objectives. He ends his Madrid profession with 450 objectives in simply 438 video games.

Ronaldo scores his group’s second purpose throughout a La Liga match in opposition to Levante in 2015. Victor Carretero/Actual Madrid/Getty Photographs

June 2016

A purpose within the Copa América Centenario quarterfinals establishes him as Argentina’s all-time main scorer. After La Albiceleste’s loss within the remaining, he declares his worldwide retirement, a call he reverses shortly afterwards following pleas from Argentina’s president.

Messi waits to obtain the second place medal after the Copa América remaining. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Photographs

July 2016

Wins first main worldwide trophy on the European Championship in France, however is carried off injured in tears after simply 25 minutes of the ultimate.

Ronaldo exhibiting the Henri Delaunay Trophy to supporters throughout a victory ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal. Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Photographs

Initially sentenced to 21 months in jail for tax fraud, however escapes with $2.3 million nice as a substitute. Messi — alongside along with his father Jorge Messi — was discovered responsible of defrauding Spain of $4.6 million between 2007 and 2009.

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Messi (L) and his father Jorge Horácio Messi pay attention as they face judges. Alberto Estevez/AFP/Getty Photographs

Apr. 2017

Scores a hat-trick in opposition to Bayern Munich to turn out to be the primary participant to attain 100 Champions League objectives.

Ronaldo celebrates scoring his facet’s third purpose in opposition to Bayern Munich. Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Photographs

Mar. 2018

Scores his a hundredth Champions League purpose, reaching the milestone in fewer video games than Ronaldo. Solely he and Ronaldo have scored not less than 100 objectives within the competitors to this point.

Messi celebrates as he scores in opposition to Chelsea in 2018. David Ramos/Getty Photographs

Could 2018

First participant to win the Champions League 5 occasions. He received his first with Manchester United in 2008 earlier than successful the competitors with Actual Madrid in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Ronaldo celebrates his fifth Champions League trophy. VI Photographs/Getty Photographs

June 2018

At Russia 2018, turns into first man to attain in eight consecutive main worldwide tournaments.

Ronaldo smiles through the 2018 World Cup in a recreation in opposition to Morocco. Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Photographs

July 2018

On the age of 33, Ronaldo indicators for Italian group Juventus in a reported $117 million switch deal.

Ronaldo made his transfer to La Vecchia Signora following a wildly profitable stint with Actual Madrid. Emilio Andreoli/Getty Photographs

Oct. 2018

Accused of rape by Kathryn Mayorga, who claims she was paid $375,000 to signal an NDA; case later dismissed. He denies the allegations.

Ronaldo seen on the Palms Place Resort and Spa on June 14, 2009, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Charley Gallay/FilmMagic

July 2019

Messi despatched off within the thirty seventh minute of the third-place Copa América playoff. He refuses to just accept his third-place medal and receives a three-month ban from worldwide soccer in addition to a $50,000 nice.

Messi argues with referee Mario Díaz de Vivar after being proven the purple card. Alexandre Schneider/Getty Photographs

July 2021

Picture of Messi holding the Copa América — his first worldwide trophy — turns into probably the most appreciated sports activities picture in Instagram historical past on the time.

Aug. 2021

Returns to Manchester United and finishes first season because the membership’s prime purpose scorer. Relationship with group implodes after explosive interview in November 2022.

Ronaldo poses with then-Manchester United supervisor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after signing his contract. Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Photographs

Indicators on a two-year deal for French group Paris Saint-Germain, bringing his long-term affiliation with Barça to an finish with the Catalan membership struggling financially.

PSG’s Qatari President Nasser Al-Khelaifi poses alongside Messi after the Argentine joins the membership. Stephane De Sakutins/AFP/Getty Photographs

Sep. 2021

Breaks worldwide scoring file with two objectives in opposition to Eire, taking his tally to 117 objectives in 191 internationals and cementing his standing as an all-time nice.

Ronaldo reacts throughout a FIFA World Cup qualifying match in opposition to the Republic of Eire. Carlos Costa/AFP/Getty Photographs

Feb. 2022

First individual to succeed in 400 million Instagram followers.

Cristiano Ronaldo/Instagram

Sep. 2022

Wins file 164th Argentina cap and scores ninetieth worldwide purpose, transferring him to 3rd on the all-time males’s worldwide scoring chart.

Messi celebrates his purpose throughout a world pleasant in opposition to Jamaica in 2022. Andres Kudacki/AFP/Getty Photographs

Nov. 2022

Aiming to win a first World Cup after 4 failed makes an attempt. If he scores, he’ll turn out to be the primary man to attain in 5 World Cups. He wants three extra objectives to overhaul Eusébio and turn out to be Portugal’s all-time main scorer within the competitors.

Ronaldo celebrates beating North Macedonia in 2022. Pedro Fiuza/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Aiming to win a first World Cup after 4 failed makes an attempt. Ought to he take to the sphere in Qatar, he’ll enter elite firm as solely three different gamers have beforehand competed at 5 World Cups.

Messi celebrates after scoring the opening purpose throughout a match in opposition to Bolivia in 2021 Juan I. Roncoroni/Getty Photographs

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