But for the first time in 16 years, neither Messi nor Ronaldo will be at the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Champions League.
The consequence of this is that many will say their retirement has now come into view-it will be sooner rather than later.
Messi fell with Barcelona against PSG even though he showed he can still create genius in the twinkling of an eye, while Ronaldo could not summon his extraordinary powers to power Juventus past FC Porto.
While Messi is the media-shy one, Ronaldo took to his Instagram page after many blamed him for Juventus’ ouster from the UEFA Champions League by Porto last week.
“More important than the number of falls you take in life; is how fast and how strong you get back on your feet… True champions never break! Our focus is already in Cagliari, in the Serie A struggle, in the Italian Cup final, and in everything that we can still achieve this season.”
It’s true that the past belongs in museums but fortunately, football has memory… and so do I! History can’t be deleted, it’s written every single day with resilience, team spirit, persistence and lots of hard work. And those who don’t understand this will never achieve glory and success. #finoallafine”
In the week when both Messi and Ronaldo exhibited human frailties, Ronaldo outpaced Pele in goal scoring record and Messi moved level with Xavi Hernandez on appearances for Barcelona in all competitions.
In the Serie A match on Sunday against Cagliari, Ronaldo scored thrice to eclipse Pele’s record, and he took to Instagram once again.
“Today, as I reach the 770 official goals in my professional career, my first words go straight to @pele. There’s no player in the World who hasn’t been raised listening to stories about his games, his goals, and his achievements, and I’m no exception. And for that reason, I’m filled with joy and pride as I acknowledge the goal that puts me on top of the World’s goalscoring list, overcoming Pelé’s record.”
On Monday, Messi equaled Xavi’s all-time Barcelona appearances on 767 and he celebrated that milestone with a brace against Huesca.
Ronaldo, 36, is the leading scorer in Serie A with 23 goals, and Messi, 33, is the leading scorer in La Liga with 20.
Xavi set this record in 2016, the year he left Barcelona but whether Messi leaves or stays in Catalonia, he will break this record many times before the season ends and add this to the many records he already holds, which may never be broken in Barcelona’s history.
Despite the opprobrium from those averse to history-who are only inundated with today, I recommend YouTube.
For me, I will rather say congratulations to both Messi and Ronaldo. They are both [super] humans, but as we prepare for a time when both players will retire into the past, we should enjoy their present and their presence because football will never forget them.
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