How Messi’s Triumph at the World Cup is Karma to Ronaldo

Messi Vs Ronaldo Campaign in World Cup 2022

How Messi’s Triumph at the World Cup is Karma to Ronaldo

The conclusion of the gripping footballing affair in Qatar at the World Cup saw the crowning of Argentina as World Champions. Many have said that the host of the 2022 edition put in a great show that produced the most spectacular World Cup in history. Former Manchester United right-back, Gary Neville, described the final between France and Argentina as the best football match ever. And not many will argue with that.

Before the competition kicked off, Louis Vuitton promoted a campaign featuring Messi and Ronaldo playing a game of chess (Messi vs Ronaldo), which fans and the media jumped on to describe as the final showdown between the two players considered the greatest of all time (GOAT), as they near the end of their remarkable careers.

Supporters from both camps of the players, and those indifferent supporters who appreciate both their contributions to the sport, viewed the World Cup as the settler of the GOAT debate.

The competition kicked off with Portugal performing better and looking like the side to go all the way with impressive performances in their first two games of the group stage, even with Ronaldo still being a shadow of himself, as he’s been all season for Manchester United. Prompting the former Portuguese Manager, Fernando Santos to drop him to the bench in the knockout rounds, having registered just one goal from a penalty kick against Ghana in the group stage.

Whereas, having lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their first game, Argentina and Messi seemed least likely to go all the way in the competition. The upset defeat by the underdogs looked as though Argentina were heading towards yet another disappointing run. However, with successive 2-0 victories against Mexico and Poland, they secured their place in the round of 16, beating Australia 2-1 to head to a thrilling clash with Holland in the quarter-finals. Victory against Croatia in the Semis led them to what most describe as the greatest World Cup final match of all time against defending champions, France.

Unlike Ronaldo, Messi had a terrific competition and ended up as the player of the tournament, beating club teammate of Cameroonian descent, Kylian Mbappe to the award. Lionel Messi registered a total of 7 goals and 3 assists, making him the highest goal contributor in the tournament, with amazing displays and the first player in history to score goals in the group stage, the round of 16, quarter-final, semifinal, and final in a World Cup tournament.


The role of Karma in Ronaldo’s case

The difficulty of players accepting the nature of time and age affects most footballers as they approach the latter stages of their career, and Cristiano Ronaldo is not an exception. Having nurtured himself his entire career in top physical shape, age didn’t seem like a factor that will stop him anytime soon. However, at the age of 37, it seems age is playing a factor in his decline of form.

Ronaldo is currently training at his former club, Real Madrid, where he broke most of his records, and won 4 Champions League trophies, as he is without a club following his outburst during his interview with Pierce Morgan immediately after the last Premier League game before the World Cup break and his departure from Manchester United.

Could this be karma? One might ask. While looking back at his illustrious career, one might say yes. Apart from losing a good number of his die-hard supporters at Manchester United after his rift with the United manager, Erik ten Hag, he has also lost what he was best at doing, goal scoring. Ronaldo built his career – after leaving Manchester United in 2009 to Real Madrid – around scoring goals. He currently holds the record for most official goals scored in men’s football history. However, the focus on goal scoring seems to be part of his undoing currently with his struggles in front of the goal. The goals have dried up, and with the game evolving and becoming more physical and faster, age has caused a lack of speed and intensity, thereby, reducing his total performance on the pitch.

It was for this reason that Erik ten Hag, the United manager dropped him on the bench in favour of other younger attackers at the club. This also could have been the reason the Portuguese manager, Fernando, dropped at the knockout stage of the competition.

Building his game around goal scoring limited his ability to enhance his skills across other areas of the game like passing, dribbling, holding up the ball at attacking areas, and bringing other teammates into the game. These skills that Messi still possesses that makes him very influential for the club and country.

A good number of football fanatics see Ronaldo as a self-centered footballer who played the game to solely be the center of attention in every team he played. A case point could be seen in his first stint at Manchester United, where Wayne Rooney sacrificed his game for Ronaldo to score and excel. Also at Madrid, where Karim Benzema sacrificed his game for Ronaldo’s benefit. And again, at United, where Bruno Fernandez dropped off form after the arrival of Ronaldo.

With Messi becoming victorious at the World Cup, a lot of attention has been on Ronaldo for all the wrong reasons. Many see his rivalry with Messi as all but over as Messi has achieved the crowning glory of winning the most prestigious price in football.

The question now is, what next for Ronaldo and Messi in their enthralling rivalry? With Ronaldo still yet to secure a new club that satisfies his personal ambitions and with Messi flying high this season with PSG, can we finally say that the GOAT debate is over?

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