Will Russia 2018 be Messi or Ronaldo's Crowning Glory?

Messi and Ronaldo have become legends of the game and have developed one of the most intense rivalries in sport. This could be the last World Cup that both players feature prominently and fans are looking forward to the grand finale performances on the international stage. In our last poll on Daily Soccer Digest, Messi was voted as this year’s likely Golden Boot winner ahead of Ronaldo. The question that is on the minds of all soccer fans is whether this World Cup will be the defining moment of their careers. Will the tournament this summer help one be remembered over the other as the greatest in the modern game?

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Messi will be remembered as the most naturally gifted player the sport has ever seen, and as the heart of a legendary team. Debuting with the senior squad at Barcelona in 2004, Messi has helped rewrite the record books. Messi is Messi because he is part of Barcelona. The club’s motto, “més que un club,” (“more than a club”), signifies the spirit, the deep history and the cultural bond linking the club with the Catalan city. Messi is the embodiment of that motto and Barcelona wouldn’t be the team it is today without Messi and vice versa. Defining his legacy, and Ronaldo’s for that matter, by a single trophy would be to overlook their character and spirit. It would discount what they have come to represent in the modern game.

Ronaldo on the other hand, has vast international experience and has played for clubs in Portugal, England and Spain. His legacy is one of incredible personal and team achievements for both club and country. His sheer physical prowess and skill have defined him as one of the best players in the game. At 33 he’s showing no signs of slowing down and is looking to play top tier soccer for years to come, much like his former Manchester United teammate Ryan Giggs. Coral points out that Giggs played into his 40s at the highest level, and credits yoga for prolonging his career. Ronaldo and Messi both know the benefits of yoga in helping improve performance and extend careers, with Health N Advise confirming that both practice yoga on a regular basis. Nonetheless, with Messi at 30 and Ronaldo 33, Russia could be their last World Cup.

Both at club level and on the international stage, they have distinguished themselves again and again. Lifting the coveted World Cup trophy is seen by most fans as both Ronaldo’s and Messi’s final opportunity to leave a defining mark on the history of the game. Sportskeeda notes that only World Cup glory will propel Lionel Messi to the level of recognition his talent and character deserve. If either one does lift the trophy it will be the crowning achievement of their career. Yet no matter what happens, Ronaldo and Messi have left a legacy that most players can only dream of. 

Author: Anderson Lee