European club football is all set to proceed without the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi for the first time in 21 years. The two, highly regarded as the best players ever to play the beautiful game, are in the final stages of their careers.
Ronaldo, 38, accepted a big-money move to Al-Nassr FC in 2022 which plays in the Saudi Pro League in Saudi Arabia. His counterpart, Lionel Messi, who will turn 36 later this month, accepted a move to Inter Miami, a club based in the Major League Soccer in the USA.
The two, who dominated world football since 2008 all by themselves have inevitably reached the end of their careers and we most likely will not see any rivalry such as this one.
Ronaldo and Messi share a whopping 1,643 goals between them along with 593 assists. They have 75 international trophies between them along with 12 Ballon d’Or. From 2008 to 2017, the Ballon d’Or was going back and forth only between these two greats, a rivalry never seen before.
It was only in 2018 when Luka Modric broke the duopoly, becoming the first player to win a Ballon d’Or in the Ronaldo-Messi era. While Ronaldo won his last Ballon d’Or in 2017, Messi went on to win it two more times in 2019, and 2021.
Football fans around the world will always remember the countless memories this era gave as they prepare to welcome a modern era, an era without Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.