2022 World Cup: Why Did Cristiano Ronaldo Failed And Lionel Messi Succeeded?

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Lionel Messi has succeeded where Cristiano Ronaldo has failed in the 2022 World Cup. What separated the two stars?

Cristiano Ronaldo

In the small Arabian state of Qatar, delicately nestled between Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf, the story of the 2022 World Cup is the story of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – two greatest footballers that have made indelible blueprints in the game.

Lionel Messi has turned the hero of Argentina in the tournament, while Cristiano Ronaldo has slumped down the depths like an exiled villain.

When men tower above their peers, much will be accorded and expected. The rise of Argentina from the opening defeat to Saudi Arabia has been attributed to Lionel Messi.

In the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo may not have done enough to help the Selecao progress to the semifinals and possibly to the final of the 2022 World Cup.

However, can we safely attribute the success and failure of both teams to the individual efforts and failures of the two players?

Lionel Messi in Argentina

Argentina opened its 2022 World Cup campaign on a disappointing note. What a freak of a result? But it perfectly recasts football’s unpredictability, adding to the beauty of the game.

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Argentina felled to Saudi Arabia, with Lionel Messi registering his first goal of the tournament, scoring from a penalty spot.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Nevertheless, it takes the Albicelestes less than magic to get the job done. They recorded wins against Mexico and Poland to top the group and qualify for knockouts. In both games, Lionel Messi was instrumental with both assists and goals.

In the next three knockout games against Australia, Netherlands, and Croatia, Lionel Messi scored in all of them and delivered assists too. He is now in the final, ready to win the World Cup trophy for Argentina.

Where did Lionel Messi get it right?

The 2022 World Cup is Lionel Messi’s 5th World Cup campaign. The farthest he went in a World Cup was the 2014 final in Brazil, which they lost to Germany.

Cristiano Ronaldo

While his individual brilliance has counted immensely for Argentina, the quality in Argentina is another major factor.

The likes of Otamendi and Romero in the defence, Marc Allister and Paredes in the Midfield, and Julian Alvarez in the attack – all have added significant momentum to the team.

Argentina has scored 12 goals, with Lionel Messi netting 5 of those goals. Also, Messi has cashed in on Lionel Messi’s attacking style of football.

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Argentina lacks natural wingers but have a great pool of midfielders. Despite always adopting a 4-4-2 formation, in Argentina, Scaloni adopts a freer and more fluid style of play to harness the qualities of the players at his disposal.

A freer team has allowed them to keep possession and attack freely, without restraints on talents and geniuses such as Lionel Messi.

Notably, Argentina’s feat in the 2022 World Cup cannot be attributed to team structure or style alone. It can neither be given to Lionel Messi’s brilliance. Both factors play a crucial role in the team’s success.

Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal

Portugal showed signs of a successful 2022 World Cup outing. They opened their campaign with a win over Ghana.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo opened the scoring for the Selecao through a penalty spot, but the goal turned out to be his last in the tournament.

Portugal did record successive wins in the tournament, but Cristiano Ronaldo played little or no role.

At a point, Fernando Santos was forced to drop him on the bench as his influence on the pitch continued to diminish.

Portugal later crashed out of the tournament, losing to Morocco in the quarterfinals.

Who is to be blamed, Portugal or Cristiano Ronaldo?

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Portugal is said to possess the best squad in years. Hence, the team’s quality was not doubted going into the 2022 World Cup.

Fernandes Santos’s typical formation is 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. While the 4-3-3 formation brings out the best of Portuguese with a balanced defending and attacking cadence, the 4-2-3-1 is always Dos Santos’ backup plan when playing against big teams. It allows the team to launch counters and keep off the pressure at the back.

While such flips will not play to the strength of Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo has struggled since the beginning of the 2022 football season. He is not in his best shape and could not have done much for the team despite the quality of the team.

A different tactical plan by Fernandos Santos would not have brought the best out of the player. Ronaldo’s poor 2022 World Cup record compared to Messi is not related to the team but his recent form.

On the other hand, Messi has been in top shape, and with the depth of quality in Argentina’s World Cup squad, his success becomes inevitable.

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