Cristiano Ronaldo And Lionel Messi Set For One Final Showdown On The Biggest Stage

When GOATS collide.

Cristiano Ronaldo And Lionel Messi Set For One Final Showdown On The Biggest Stage

Cristiano Ronaldo may not have been able to keep his side in the European Championships last week, bowing out to a strong French side in the quarter-finals. After Ronaldo confirmed this would be his last out with Portugal at the EUROs, the veteran forward has opened the door to one more World Cup in 2026, where he would come up against a familiar foe.

You never know what you have until it’s gone, as the saying goes. And that old adage couldn’t be more true for the dominant era of Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi and the perennial GOAT debate.

In their prime, these two titans ascended to near-divine heights within world football; titans of industry, electrifying the pitch for the two biggest clubs in Spain, trading blows, taking scalps and defining an era of European football with every breathtaking moment.

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Cristiano Ronaldo has said he may play at the FIFA World Cup with Portugal. Image: Getty

Ronaldo would be the first to leave Spain, signing with Juventus in Italy, and then returning to Manchester United before pioneering a new movement in world football to the abundance of riches in the Saudi Pro League.

Messi would leave Barcelona just a few years later, signing with the French champions Paris Saint-Germain before joining David Beckham’s pink parade with Inter Miami and the MLS… but Ronaldo’s recent admission could see the pair take each other on for one last time.

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Although Ronaldo and Messi are 39 and 37 respectively, the pair are still in contention for their national sides, competing in the European Championships and Copa América this winter. Messi is through to the semis with Argentina but Ronaldo couldn’t do enough to keep his side in the competition, bowing out in the quarter-finals against France.

After the game, Ronaldo said the words no football fan wanted to hear: that this EURO tournament would be his last. As fans around the world were mourning a lost era in football, Ronaldo’s recent comments have opened the door to one final swansong on the international circuit.

“I think I will be available for Portugal in 2026…”

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo will be 41 years old by the time the next FIFA World Cup rolls around in 2026; Messi will be 39. With the Argentina captain plying his trade in the MLS with Inter Miami, there will be a huge commercial pull for Messi to stay on with the national side for the North American tournament. If Ronaldo can stay fit and firing, we could well see one final showdown between these two, on the world’s biggest stage.