Time For Messi And Ronaldo To Prove Worth At World Cup


For the past two World Cups we’ve all waited for Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo or even both to light up the grandest stage of them all and prove once and for all that they’re up there with Pele and Diego Maradona, who are considered the best players of all time.

Both have played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and between them they have only managed three goals (Messi 1 & Ronaldo 2). To put that in perspective Oleg Salenko scored five in one World Cup match in 1994 and an overweight, unfit Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) scored three times in the 2006 tournament.

Now many people these days dismiss the World Cup, stating that the Champions League is the premier football tournament these days and that it is now the yard-stick to judge our players on. But I disagree. Players still look every four years to the next World Cup and see that platform as the pinnacle.

Fans of these players also state that the two stars are running on empty after the amount of games they play and travelling they do during the year. But Pele would also play a fantastic amount of games in Brazil each year and then also travel the world with Santos every off season to places in America, Africa and Europe. The bonus that the current footballers have over previous generations is that sports science is now a huge part of football and that they get the best doctors, physio’s and the like that help them recuperate much quicker.

Also out of the cream of the crop its only these two greats that haven’t shone at this stage. Pele and Maradona clearly did, as did Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer. In the modern era we had Brazil’s Ronaldo and Frenchman Zinedine Zidane take tournaments by the scruff of the neck.

Now Cristiano Ronaldo might say that the Portuguese squad isn’t the best. But he can be the difference maker. They have enough quality to back him up and he has to be the edge that gets them past countries of similar standings. He really needs to make more of a mark in the bigger games.

For Messi, he needs to find away to play for Argentina like he has done in the past with Barcelona. He has very talented teammates with the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria. The latter proved in last weekends Champions League final that he can step up and help out his side when the best players have a bit of an off night. Messi can use the players around him to have a breather and then make a bigger impact when it really counts!

If these two players again come away from a World Cup goal-shy, scoring less than three each, then they will still have question marks against their names as they have once again failed when the whole world has collectively watched them.

Out of the two I actually think that Lionel Messi has the best chance to show his worth. He has had more rest time this season and has a point to prove after a disappointing season at Barca. He will also look and see Cristiano Ronaldo outperforming him for a whole season. What better way to knock off his rival from his perch than having a better World Cup. People might think that it shouldn’t be a case of Messi looking to outperform Ronaldo or vice-versa but why not? If it spurs on the two athletes with healthy competition then all the better. In other sports we had great rivalries that meant we saw a better standard of entertainment and sport… Like Federer/Nadal, Palmer/Nicklaus, Ali/Frazier and Senna/Prost.

Ronaldo and Messi will also be aware that other stars out there will look at the World Cup as their stage to show that they can be the best in the world. Neymar, Mario Balotelli, Angel Di Maria, Eden Hazard and more will want to show that they are now ready to show that they can match Messi and Ronaldo’s standards.

I hope for the sakes of both players that they can have very good World Cups and finally answer the last of their critics!

Leave a Reply