Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will have their last chance to lift the World Cup in Qatar 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will have their last chance to lift the World Cup in Qatar 2022

Each World Cup has a special flavor, a seasoning that distinguishes it from all the others and for which it is always remembered. That distinctive touch is usually given by an unforgettable game, an extraordinary play or even some controversy, images that inevitably go off when it comes to remembering them.

Diego Maradona’s goal against England set Mexico 1986 on fire, just as Zinedine Zidane’s header against Marco Materazzi appears instantly when the 2006 World Cup is named. And it is impossible not to think about the historic 7-1 victory of Germany against Brazil, the host in 2014.

However, the characteristic aroma, the essence that will remain of Qatar 2022, was born long before it is played, and it is not about incredible goals or extraordinary matches. When discussing this World Cup in a few years, they will talk about the one that was the last of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Today, a year after it begins, these two players who will forever score Qatar 2022 prepare to spend their last bullet and achieve maximum glory for the first time.

How are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo one year away from the World Cup?

Despite being in the final stretch of their careers, both prove to be current in both their teams and their national teams.

At 34, Lionel Messi went through a special 2021, defined by his complex departure from Barcelona and arrival in a Paris Saint-Germain full of figures, where he excels with goals and assists, but is still looking to show his best version. And before these changes, La Pulga won his first Copa América with the Argentine National Team, his first title with the senior national team. He got rid of the incalculable weight of three lost finals (two for the America’s Cup and one for the World Cup) and it shows him in a state of absolute happiness every time he has to meet his teammates again.

Through this bittersweet year, marked by farewells, changes and a historic consecration against Brazil, Messi shone with the albiceleste shirt. He found in the coach Lionel Scaloni and in this new breed of footballers that comfort that he seemed to have in his best days in Barcelona, ​​which for some years he did not have with Argentina and now it is also difficult for him to find in PSG. The Selection is being his favorite scene.

From January to the last date of the South American Qualifiers in November, La Pulga played all the games that Argentina had to play (14), was always a starter and was never substituted, even when he could not arrive in the best physical form to some calls. He scored 9 goals and gave 5 assists, numbers that he did not achieve last year due to the little international activity left by the pandemic, but that he did not achieve in 2019 either.

Beyond his good numbers, Messi discovered new partnerships within the team and a squad that covers him in all competitions. Rodrigo De Paul, Lautaro Martínez and Leandro Paredes are some of the names that emerged in this new process and are key to the functioning of the team and of the ’10’ itself.

This is how Messi recognized it after beating Brazil in the Copa América final:

“This group really deserved it. I trusted a lot in this team that was getting stronger, a group of very good people who always push forward, who never complained about anything. I am very happy to be part of this, they are already 3 years since the Scaloni process started and it has always been growing. He always wanted the best for the National Team “

With this group that excites him, Messi is one step away from reaching the goal in the South American Qualifiers and playing his fifth World Cup, in which he will seek to achieve what he could not in Brazil 2014 and was so close to achieving. This time, he arrives as a champion.

Like La Pulga, Cristiano Ronaldo also went through an unruly 2021. The 36-year-old Portuguese left Juventus in mid-August to return to Manchester United, the club with which he began to write the glorious first pages of his career.

The illusion was great to see him repeat what he achieved in his first stage, but CR7 came to a team that did not prove to be up to his level and forced him on several occasions to put on the savior suit. At the moment, the portrait of the Red Devils reflects that they are out of the cup classification positions in the Premier League, although they lead in their current Champions League group thanks to him, who scored 5 goals in 4 games.

The Portugal National Team has not been treating Cristiano well either. In 2021 they had a bad Eurocup, just passing the group stage and being eliminated in the round of 16 against Belgium. In addition, they fell to the playoffs in the UEFA Qualifiers after losing to Serbia on the last date.

Likewise, Ronaldo managed to excel in both competitions, including a record.

In the Euro, CR7 finished as the top scorer of the tournament with 5 goals in four games, while in the Playoffs he played 7 games, scored 6 goals and was never substituted. A case similar to Messi, with the exception that in those matches CR7 became the national team’s top scorer (111 goals) after scoring a double against Ireland in early September.

Consulted in SkySports on whether he is in the ‘beginning of the end of his career’, Cristiano brought out his winning mentality:

“This is not the time to retire. That will be when I feel that I am no longer able to run, dribble, finish … But I still have those things, I am still motivated. I want to put the level even higher. I like to play football. I feel good making people happy “

With Ronaldo, Portugal has assured competitiveness and motivation for the next World Cup, but it has been shown that the team will have to accompany its top figure if it wants to aspire to play a good role.

The end of a stage?

Despite the fact that both showed on the way to the World Cup that they are still decisive for their teams, the years begin to play their game and the possibility of seeing them in a World Cup after Qatar 2022 seems impossible.

For this reason, the question about their future after December of next year was almost inevitable for the media around the world on each international date that they had to dispute, and the protagonists faced that predicament.

This they said about their future:

Ronaldo is clear
“I’m going to get to Qatar 2022 well. This will be my last World Cup and surely my last international tournament with Portugal, but that motivates me, I’m happy. I usually go on vacation to Qatar and Dubai, I know it well “

Messi is excited about the team and leaves the door open
“I am very excited about doing great things in the World Cup. We have come from winning the Copa América after having searched for it for so long and after this, the illusion is great for what is to come. If I have to be honest, the truth is that I do not think about what will happen after Qatar. Whatever has to happen will happen. I enjoy what I do, in due course it will be seen “

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