Their paths would have crossed at the quarter-final stage at the 2018 World Cup, but instead, both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are heading home.
Both were involved in thrilling games on Saturday, albeit neither was able to have a decisive impact, with Argentina and Portugal being eliminated by France and Uruguay respectively.
In turn, those two will face off in the first quarter final on Friday, with Messi and Ronaldo now left to analyse the tournament and their shortcomings before preparing for the new club season.
For all the talk of a showdown between the pair, it’s questionable as to whether either would have had a telling influence on the game, as pointed out by the statistic in the tweet below from OptaJose.
Astonishingly, neither have scored a goal in the World Cup knockout stage, suggesting that for all their brilliance at club level, they can’t quite take that to the international stage when it really matters.
Although Messi produced a late assist for Sergio Aguero against France and saw his shot diverted in by Gabriel Mercado, he wasn’t able to end his barren run while Ronaldo suffered more so against a stubborn Uruguay defence that conceded its first goal in 2018 courtesy of Pepe.
With Ronaldo turning 34 next year and Messi set to turn 32, it’s questionable as to whether either will be around in four years time for another go. Form, fitness and motivation will all determine that, but if they don’t return to another tournament, this stat will be a real disappointment for them and for the fans.
RT @OptaJavier 0 – Lionel Messi #ARG and Cristiano Ronaldo #POR have never scored in the knockout stages of the World Cup; between both of them, they accumulated 1.270 minutes without scoring (756 Messi, 514 Ronaldo). Era. pic.twitter.com/LbGzt3PEjy
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) June 30, 2018