Christiano Ronaldo’s fans in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, are mocking Lionel Messi, and urging him to reconsider his retirement as a way of attaining the current feat of their Portuguese idol.
The fans, who celebrated Ronaldo’s “Euro 2016’’ victory with Portugal over hosts France on Sunday at major bars in the town, said he had overtaken his Argentine counterpart in their unending supremacy battle.
The fans further commiserated with Messi who announced his retirement from international football after the “Copa America’’ final loss to Chile last June, his fourth major final loss in a row.
Nicodemus Omenka, a former Ebonyi Commissioner for Youths and Sports, said with the victory, the supremacy debate should “be rested’’.
“Both players have dominated world football for over a decade and have won all available club and individual honours.
“The only snag in their plethora of honours is a trophy win with their national sides and Ronaldo’s win has placed him above his bitter rival,’’ he said.
Emmanuel Aleke, a former Member of the Ebonyi House of Assembly, said Messi could only match Ronaldo’s edge if he reconsiders his decision on international football retirement.
“The 2016/17 football season will soon commence and both players will continue dominating the headlines in the Spanish La Liga and Europe.
“Messi therefore needs to rejoin the Argentine national team because Ronaldo will always be rated above him even if he wins all available club honours,’’ he said.
Samson Ozo, Team Manager of the Columbia FC of Abakaliki, said it was wrong for Messi to have retired prematurely because of the several final losses with Argentina.
“He is just 29 with many football years ahead of him and with possibilities of eventually winning either the Copa America or World Cup.
“Ronaldo had been unlucky before; he lost the Euro 2004 final with Portugal at home against Greece and had several miserable World Cup outings since then,’’ he said.
Jude Obeineyem, a soccer historian, noted that the usage of countries’ performances to determine players overall performances had transcended decades.
“Success in national team football is used to determine the better player between Pele of Brazil and Diego Maradona of Argentina.
“Pele was given the nod because he won more World and Copa America Cups than Maradona; Nigerian players should learn from all these to be more patriotic to national cause,’’ he said.
Tina Chimnonso, a housewife, lamented the effect of Ronaldo’s fans celebration on her household on Sunday night.
“They celebrated at a bar in front of my compound and disturbed the entire neighbourhood all through the night, costing us the desired night sleep in the process,’’ she said. (NAN)
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