Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi continue to battle it out on the international stage as the World Cup qualifiers reaches its final stage.
The two football greats have been in an intense rivalry for almost a decade and undoubtedly, they have both posed the greatest competition of all-time. Both captains have led their respective teams throughout the qualifiers, with stats putting the Portuguese sensation on top.
It is a highly debatable topic when Ronaldo and Messi are mentioned but at least, the 32-year-old’s fans can boast an international trophy for the Portuguese as he led his national team to an unprecedented triumph in France. Leo on the other hand has failed to win any international trophy after defeating in three finals.
Both superstars would be the talk of town as Russia 2018 approaches. But, can one imagine a World Cup without Lionel Messi? That would be disastrous for the organizers and football fans across the globe. Let’s take a look at the teams that have faced the wrath of Cristiano and Lionel in 2017.
Portugal are currently ranked third in the world as per the September FIFA rankings.The Selecçao faced world’s 93rd-placed nation Faroe Island on August 31, 2017 in Lisbon and Ronaldo made no mistake by registering a hat-trick in a must-win game. His bicycle kick made the headlines after his persistence resulted in a great acrobatic goal. On September 3, world’s 59th-placed nation Hungary suffered a 0-1 defeat to the European champions. Andre Silva was assisted by the iconic number 7 to boost their bid for automatic qualification.
Argentina on the other hand, are currently placed fourth in the world as Ronaldo ranks higher than his compatriot. Jorge Sampaoli’s men faced world’s 16th-placed team, Uruguay away from home and the tie ended 0-0. They failed to get back to winning ways against world’s 98th-placed nation, Venezuela in Buenos Aires and the 30-year-old failed to score in both encounters. Leo’s only goal in 2017 came in a game against world’s ninth-placed nation, Chile at the Antonio Vespucio Liberti stadium in a 1-0 win for the Argentinians.
Statistically, the 32-year-old has proven prolific for his national team with a staggering 14 goals in the qualifiers to break a goal scoring record set by Predrag Mijatovic in 1998. With two more games to go, the UEFA Best Player can improve on his incredible scoring feat. The Barcelona ace has only scored four goals for his nation as this proves to be the most difficult moment of his international career.
In a nutshell, goals scored are by far more important than dribbles. CR7 will keep scoring irrespective of the opponent. Andorra must be wary of a hungry Cristiano Ronaldo.