If there’s one thing that sports fans love to talk about, it’s comparing players and discussing who’s better while measuring their achievements against each other. People love to talk about athletes in one on one matchups even though they play team sports. This leads to discussions like “what would happen if LeBron James played Kobe Bryant in the Finals?”
We love to imagine and think about hypothetical situations that we wish we could have seen, but because of the timeframe, it will probably never happen. With all of that being said, this week is the start of a series that goes down the list of hypothetical sporting events that someone would only dream of happening, but probably never will.
One of the longest-running debates that has been going on for over 10 years in the world of soccer is “who’s the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?” The debate really ramped up when Ronaldo joined the Spanish club Real Madrid in 2009, which meant he would be in the same league as Messi, who had been at FC Barcelona since 2005.
This meant that the two would face off against each other at least twice a season, as this only made the rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona even more thrilling, as it has been dawned for many years now as “El Classico.”
Some of the biggest reasons why they have drawn so many comparisons to each other are because they play practically the same position, as they are both attacking forwards, they are both nearly the same age, as Ronaldo is 35, while Messi is 33, and they have both been widely regarded as two of the best soccer players ever.
Over the past 12 years, they have been trading off as Ballon d’Or winners, with the exception of Luka Modric winning it in 2018, although many people believe Ronaldo was more deserving. It is an award that is given to the best soccer player in the world, as Messi has won the award six times while Ronaldo has won it five times.
Both have had their fair share of international success. Messi has helped lead Argentina to three Copa America finals and one World Cup Final in 2014. Unfortunately for Messi, each game ended in defeat, as he has been unable to help Argentina return to glory. This has been one of the things that people have used against Messi when making the case that he is not the greatest soccer player of all time.
Ronaldo has also had success with Portugal, as he helped lead them to win the UEFA European Championship in 2016, and he has managed to help Portugal achieve success in four World Cups. But, similarly to Messi, he has never won a World Cup for his country, which is something that many consider the highest achievement in soccer. This is another thing that people use against Ronaldo when saying that he’s not the greatest player of all time.
Could you imagine if one day they had to face off against each other in a World Cup Final? A game with so much on the line for both Messi and Ronaldo with both of them gunning for the trophy that could impact their legacies forever.
The amount of hype that would take place if this scenario would ever happen would be out of this world. This would also be a dream for any network that had the rights to the World Cup. This is the case because of the viewership numbers that this game would get, which would absolutely blow every record in the book.
Aside from the commercial aspect of this whole possibility, from an entertainment perspective, you couldn’t ask for much more. Two of the biggest athletes on the planet facing each other in a game where they are representing their countries, and with a win, they could potentially cement their legacy as possibly the greatest to ever play the game.
Putting them in the same conversation with players like Pele, who many consider as the greatest soccer player of all time after winning three World Cups for Brazil and scoring 650 goals during his illustrious 21-year career playing for the Brazilian club Santos and the New York Cosmos.
If Messi and Ronaldo met in the World Cup Final in 2022, they would both be getting up there in age with Ronaldo being 37 by then, while Messi would be 35. With that being said, this could potentially be the last World Cups that both Messi and Ronaldo partake in.
This would just be another dramatic element that would add to an already high stakes affair. Just imagine what it would be like for one of the two to be winning the World Cup and holding up the trophy that they had worked so hard for their entire career. While on the other hand, we would see one of them with a look of pure sadness on their face knowing that this would be their last chance to win a World Cup.
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