The rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has been discussed throughout the past fifteen years among football fans, analysts, current and former players, among others.
In the 2007–2008 UEFA Champions League semi-final, Ronaldo and Messi played each other for the first time while playing for Manchester United and Barcelona, respectively.
Before Ronaldo later transferred to Real Madrid to play in the LaLiga, their rivalry had already begun. The rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi has peaked recently.
Messi has already won the coveted Ballon d’Or award seven times, compared to Ronaldo’s five victories.
Ronaldo’s final opportunity to perhaps finish his career ahead of Messi came during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Portugal captain entered the competition hoping to guide his nation to the championship game, but he soon found the going tough.
As Ronaldo was benched by former Portugal manager Fernando Santos during the World Cup, new challenges kept getting in the way.
Such a severe setback left Ronaldo feeling very demoralized. Additionally, the challenging year (2022) he experienced personally did not aid him in any way.
The former Juventus forward undoubtedly felt like it was all too much and decided to take matters into his own hands by leaving Europe and joining Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr in the Middle East.
Has Ronaldo finally given up on his never-ending battle with Messi? That is the big question.
After his contract with Manchester United was ended amicably, Stanley Smart, an Abuja-based sports journalist, told Daily Post, “Well, many people never expected Ronaldo to leave Europe for Asia.”
“Ronaldo had assured Piers Morgan (British journalist) during his famous interview that he wanted to continue his career playing at the highest level.
“But he ended up joining Al-Nassr in a huge deal. He will remain one of the best players to ever play the game.
“Unfortunately, he did not win the World Cup in Qatar, which Messi won.
“I love both players for what they have done to football in many years. But I feel the debate (Ronaldo vs Messi) will continue even when they eventually retire from professional football.
“I believe Ronaldo will set more records in Asia after what he did in Europe and Messi will also continue to set new records until he hangs his boot,” he added.