Messi and Ronaldo both eliminated on the same night
The pair’s wait for a World Cup title goes on
Despite early exit both showed flashes of their brilliance
Two of football’s biggest stars exited the FIFA World Cup in the space of just four hours as the knockout stages kicked off with an almighty bang.
First, Lionel Messi’s Argentina departed following an incredible goal-fest with France, before Uruguay edged out Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. The result is that these modern-day icons, who have dominated the game’s individual accolades for the last decade, will be watching the rest of of the tournament from home.
Expectations were high for both to perform, with Ronaldo arriving off the back of yet another UEFA Champions League win and Messi having starred in Barcelona’s La Liga triumph. But although both have made it to the final weekend in the past – Ronaldo having finished fourth in 2006, Messi second in 2014 – the last 16 was where their journey ended this time.
1270 –The number of minutes Lionel Messi (eight games, 23 shots) and Cristiano Ronaldo (six games, 25 shots) have played in the knockout rounds of the World Cup without ever scoring.
With both now into their 30’s, this could well have been their last chance to win the World Cup – almost certainly while still at the peak of their powers. Fans will now watch with intrigue to see who will follow Messi as the latest adidas Golden Ball winner, having seen the Argentinian scoop the prize four years ago.