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If Argentina Win the World Cup, the Messi Versus Ronaldo Debate Could Be Over for Good

Is this the tie breaker of all time?

For as long as most of us can remember, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been the subject matter of one the most passionate sports debates of these past two decades. The two players, born respectively in Argentina and Portugal, have galvanized crowds, energized fans into entertaining never-ending comparisons, almost religious-like idolatry, and sectarian conversations all while leading anyone even just remotely interested in football to pledge allegiance to one or the other.

Since the mid-2000s, the multiple ballon d’Or winners have monopolized the top ranks of pretty much every single competition, title, trophy, or award, can they be individual or collective, substituting each other at who will lead the given accolade or distinction and who will run up.

By now, it’s probably unlikely you need any background information on either of them. In their 15-year-long prime, playing for some of Europe’s most esteemed and respective teams such as Real Madrid,FC Barcelona, Manchester United, and Paris Saint Germain amongst others, the pair has managed to break more records than one can potentially count, from national team to club level. But, both are missing out on the one and only distinction that could eventually seal the deal and put an end to this fierce rivalry once and for all: the FIFA World Cup. 

Think of any accomplishment or prize and odds are, Ronaldo and Messi most likely have it somewhere in their silverware cabinet. It’s only the aforementioned trophy, won every four years, that seems to have slipped away from the hands of both. 

Ever since their first spell in the competition in Germany in 2006, the two superstars have never managed to put their respective country’s name next to the legendary handful that have been crowned best football team in the world in the past. 

Ronaldo’s best performance happens to be during his first participation aged 21 when Portugal landed a successful fourth position, eventually losing to Zinedine Zidane’s France before finding themselves unsuccessful again in the third position-defining game versus Germany. For what is increasingly appearing to be his last time playing in football’s most important tournament, Ronaldo, this year at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, was unexpectedly saddened by Walid Regragi’s Morocco, who beat Portugal by a single goal that allowed the North African Kingdom to progress and become the first ever Arab and African team to ever make it to the semi-finals of the quadrennial competition. 

Messi, on the other hand, has been a tad luckier. The Argentinian forward reached the World Cup final once, in 2014, against Germany, although his team lost after conceding a unique goal in the extra time of the match. This year though, the Rosario-born athlete, with the help of the rest of his Argentinian comrades, has repeated the achievement and is set to challenge reigning World Cup champion’s France on Dec. 18 for the ultimate prize. 

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from their mistakes and this time actually lift the golden trophy, this weekend, the world will witness either Messi putting his hands on the only award he has ever missed out on in his decades-long career or Kylian Mbappé winning his second World Cup medal at the mere age of 23. 

With Argentina set to face France in less than 72-hours from now, below, four reasons as to why Messi could put an end to his rivalry with Ronaldo and be crowned the ultimate GOAT if Argentina wins the FIFA World Cup this weekend.

Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t lie 

Both athletes are neck-to-neck when it comes to individual and collective statistics. If one has scored more goals, the other has more assists, if one has more ballon d’Ors then the other has more Champion’s League medals, and so on and so forth. A World Cup win would set the two apart forever, ending the debate as one would have the ultimate trophy the other never managed to bag in his five attempts at it.

We often heard people argue Ronaldo was better when he won the Euros 

Winning silverware with the national is what both had missed out on for a while. When Ronaldo made history by bringing the Euros trophy to Portugal against France in 2016, many used this as the main incentive behind why Ronaldo would be better than Messi. Since then, Messi has won the Latin American equivalent of that trophy, which means that if we’re applying the same logic, a World Cup win would put him ahead of the race. 

People will finally stop saying that Maradona is better because he won a World Cup with Argentina

Not only are Messi and Diego Maradona two of Argentina’s greatest players, but they are also probably some of the best footballers the world has ever seen. Since the start of Messi’s career, questions around whether he’ll be able to live up to Maradona’s standards have been heard and repeated all throughout the years he spent at Barcelona and now at PSG. While many seem adamant that the 35-year-old is better, others claim that the fact that he’s hasn’t added a star on the South American country’s badge make his late peer ultimately better. By these standards, if people agree on Messi being better than Maradona, then it would mean that he would also be better than Ronaldo who has yet to win that trophy.

Because Zlatan Ibrahimovic implied so

When Zlatan Ibrahimovic says something, odds are, he’s right. In a recent interview, the 41-year-old striker claimed that “(…) it’s already written who will win, and you know who I mean. I think Messi will lift the trophy, it’s already written,” implying that it’s just a matter of time before history is made and his former team mate at FC Barcelona will put a full stop to all questions about who is best forever.

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