Star-crossed rivals



July 8, 2016
Star-crossed rivals

GREATS: International glory has escaped Ronaldo and Messi.

Ron’s star on rise but it’s dark times for Leo.

Fate is a fickle mistress, they say, and you just have to look at the careers of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to see just how her favour swings from the one to the next.

Ronaldo is on the verge of his first major title with the Potuguese national team, while Messi has turned his back on Argentina after another failure.

It’s quite dramatic.

Both superstars have been missing silverware in the colours of their country from their amazing haul of honours.

It has been a question mark over their careers for so long.

For Messi, he has missed out in four major finals.

In 2007, he first tasted the bitterness of losing in a decider with Argentina – in the Copa America.

In the last two years, the Argentina genius has seen the 2014 World Cup escape him and in 2015 and this year, he couldn’t guide the Albiceleste to a Copa title that would have ended the South Americans’ 30-year wait for a major title.

It hurt him so badly that he shocked the world by announcing his retirement from international football.

The call was a stunner for his fans and to the rest of us who still see this Argentina crop as potential winners in Russia two years from now.

Messi will still only be 31 and could emulate fellow Argie idol Diego Maradona in inspiring his side to a third world title.

The perceived rivalry between Messi and CR7 also became more humanised when Ronaldo saw Messi’s tears after losing in the Copa final to Chile.

Messi isn’t known to show his frustration and emotions on the pitch. But even Ron, the ultimate tjankie balie, was moved.

We’ve seen plenty of Ronaldo tantrums over the course of the Euros.

But he now has the chance to put that all behind him if he can help his side lift the Henri Delauney trophy this Sunday at the Stade de France.

The Portugal captain has already made history at the tournament by equalling Michel Platini’s record of nine goals at the European championships when he scored his third goal of this edition in the 2-0 semifinal win over Gareth Bale’s Wales.

And despite not being at his best, he has definitely upped his game from the group stages.

Seeing Messi’s tears and his own after being shocked by Greece in the 2004 final, you can bet that he doesn’t want a repeat of that – it will mess up his mascara for sure.

The little Argentinian’s off-season got even worse when he was convicted of tax fraud in Spain and copped a 21-month prison sentence.

But like I said, fate is a fickle mistress and she may already have chosen a different destiny for Ron and will give the glory to someone else this weekend.

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