Lionel Messi is one final away from winning a fifteen-year rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo

Winning a World Cup is “the biggest dreamby Cristiano Ronaldo. From the quarter-finals, he “fly away“. Like Neymar or Harry Kane, the Portuguese shared great anxiety. The scenario for a final explanation between the two best players of the 21st century has been written. If he wins today, Messi will be the one to choose. More than a world champion, as English luminary Gary Lineker summed it up on Twitter: “Does the debate about the GOAT really continue?In other words, the greatest of all time.

The French stand between Messi and eternity. As in the opening against Saudi Arabia (1-2) by Hervé Renard. “After that loss, every game was final“, he rewinds to the dawn of the sixth. The truth. This failure, the first in 37 games, the Argentines evacuated in one afternoon, “locked in a room drinking and talking“, said Rodrigo de Paul, the watchdog of number 10.

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Are we really continuing the debate about the greatest of all time?

After the semi-final against Croatia (3-0), Messi cried for joy and looked up at the sky. A few days earlier, after Morocco exhausted the Seleção, Cristiano Ronaldo was sobbing in a hallway. It all went wrong for the Portuguese star. His relationship with Bruno Fernandes soured following his high-profile breakup with their club, Manchester United, before the tournament. Then coach Fernando Santos committed a crime of lèse-majesté by sending him to the bench in the round of 16. Did CR7 threaten to leave? The hypothesis was rejected but it is not certain that the 2016 European champion retains much credit.

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Last match in the World Cup

Messi has planned everything to avoid a failed exit. Forced to leave Barcelona in the summer of 2021, he gave himself a season to adapt to PSG, a second to shine again. In Qatar, he flies like in Paris. “As Argentines, we selfishly claim that Messi is the best ever. But I have no doubt“Summing Lionel Scaloni, coach”privilegedto accompany the national idol towards an apotheosis. Messi confirmed that this final will be his last World Cup game. “The sentence no Argentinian wants to hear“Great summary by an editorialist from the daily Clarin.

Also read – World Cup: for Argentina, everything depends on Messi

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He is already the best but continues to set records by equaling Maradona’s number of assists (8) and surpassing Batistuta in goals (11 against 10) at the World Cup. He was a finisher (5) or assist (3) on eight of Argentina’s ten goals. “He is win the game“Summarizes the Italian Alberto Zaccheroni, member of the FIFA evaluation team. At 35, there is no physical rejection. The Brazilian writer José Falero compares it to “a US soccer player who runs like a madman, with no one to stop him“. Do you have to be Brazilian – or French – to make a reservation: “Messi will never be a Ronaldinho, just like Maradona will never be a Pelé.» The author immediately qualifies and specifies that «many Brazilians are open fans of Messi“. Five-finals Mexican legend Oswaldo Sánchez, crossed Doha, hoping for victoryfor all Latinos“. We cannot count the marks of gratitude received in recent days by “the Flea“.

Will Europeans rally behind Ronaldo if he makes the final? We can doubt it. The Portuguese striker’s career can be summed up in numbers; Messi’s, in feelings. In July 2021, the Copa América raised by the Albiceleste returned love in the eyes of his countrymen. Who wouldn’t want to witness the coronation of a king? “Playing knowing this is his last chance raises his level even further, and like all geniuses, Messi is a winner.“, Forecast of Pablo Zabaleta, former international for whom Messi”showing the way and spreading much joy“.

Admiration on one side, war of succession on the other

His teammates give the impression of wanting the trophy more for him than for themselves. The revelation in the middle, Enzo Fernández was 5 years old when Messi played in his first World Cup (2006); he put himself in the service of his idol. On the Portuguese side, starlet João Félix took a breath before the quarter-final that he didn’t feel “obligedto pass the ball to Ronaldo. Admiration on one side, war of succession on the other. Mikaël Silvestre, embarrassed, refused to mention the gently sloping winter of his former teammate at the Red Devils.

Also read – Argentinian writer Eduardo Sacheri: “We wasted years not liking Messi”

The Portuguese, 37, who was sent by rumor to Saudi Arabia or Qatar to fill his bank account a little more, reappeared in midweek in Madrid. Without a club, he takes advantage of Real’s facilities to communicate. As his lifelong rival prepares his revenge in the World Cup final, after the trauma of 2014 (1-0 defeat against Germany), he is ready to add to his CV the only trophy he has yet to win. By beating France by Kylian Mbappé, another PSG star will surely kill two birds with one stone: an eighth Ballon d’Or will be offered to him. Five-time winner, Cristiano Ronaldo will probably, once again, never have a chance to overtake him.

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