Qatar 2022: A World Cup Swan Song For Messi & Ronaldo

–Featuring Messi & Ronaldo Interviews

The ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar is obviously bigger than any individual, no matter how larger than life they are. But there is no doubt that two names ring bells in terms of fans’ expectations of their performance during the soccer mundial.

Both players had in separate interviews referred to this their fourth World Cup as their last, in view of their age and especially as none of them has ever won the trophy. What a great thing it is to hear two great men with different temperament speak their minds on the thing closest to their hearts and their fans all over the world!

These two big names will drive news during the ongoing World Cup in Qatar.

There’s no doubt that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, are two great men who have pushed their trade to the limits on the football field and off it, amassing 12 Ballon d’Or world footballer of the year among them. The player with the most Ballon d’Or trophies ever is Messi, who has won it seven times, all as a Barcelona player, while Ronaldo has lifted the trophy five times, four of them playing at Real Madrid and one with Manchester United.  They won their 12 Ballon d’Or awards, 10 in a row from 2008 to 2017.

Ronaldo seems to make more news off the field than Messi, especially with his recent blockbuster interview with Piers Morgan that has raised many issues concerning his life and times in Manchester United. Messi is more reserved outside the field of play, especially in his family life and with the competition between the two, their fans would not accept who is indeed the GOAT – greatest of all time – among the two.

Messi did give an interview recently and it is good to hear him for once speak his mind about life, football and everything else, knowing that this is probably his last chance, like Ronaldo, to win the world cup which is a trophy not on the shelf of the two greats.

Courtesy of USJK FOOTBALL, hear Lionel Messi – A Man of Few Words:

*This will be my last World Cup, for sure. The decision has been made.

*I never set out to be the best player in history. I think I’m just another player. On the pitch we are all the same and when the game starts I always try to improve myself.

*My intention is that when I retire, I will be remembered for being a good person, not as a good player.

*I’m counting days for the World Cup, there is a little anxiety and nerves of wanting it to be already. I don’t think Argentina are top favorites, because there are some teams who are above us, but we will fight against anyone.

*I never think about what happened or what I achieved. I’m always looking forward, I think about what’s coming, what can we become in the opportunity we have and what it would be in the future.

*When we won Copa América I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know how to explain it but it was like saying… ‘That’s it, what I needed was given’… it was one of the goals I needed to try to close everything.

*If I weren’t, I would always have the thorn of the lost finals, of not having been able to consecrate myself with Argentina and at that moment, in that image in which you see me kneeling, I thought… ‘It is done’.

*Becoming a coach? I don’t really intend to be a coach, but Zidane said exactly that and after that, he became a coach and won the Champions League 3 times.

*I would like to be the sporting director of a club, to build a team, to accompany the coaches, but I’m not sure about that.

Excerpts from Cristiano Ronaldo’s Piers Morgan interview: Transcript Courtesy Mirror Online (Minus Man United Issues)

On the best advice he had for younger players:

*I’m not the kind of guy who likes to give advice as I prefer to be an example. Because I’m an example. I’m there every morning and do the same stuff. I’m probably the first one to arrive and the last one to go out. I think the details speak for itself… This is why I say, I like to lead by example.

On what drives him – competition or money:

*Exactly, the record, the adrenaline. But Piers, let’s be honest, the last year’s football changed. I see football now as a business to be honest. Sometimes Georgina’s expression, that ‘I don’t understand that they treat you players like a piece of meat.’ I say, ‘Yes, you say everything is true’… I see football, Piers, the last years, as a business. I saw many, many things that I’m disappointing. The passion for the game is still intact. But in the same way, I saw other things as well. Which surprised me but in the same way. It’s part of the business because if you see the world, how it is at the moment, it’s all business…

On the longevity of his career:

*For me it’s a stupid question. What do people say? They are not the same. Nobody is the same. Day by day we’re getting old. Every one of us, you understand, it is normal. You have to adapt. And I think nobody in this game have this brain that adapts with his age. I’m not, I’m not want to be cocky to say that I’m the same as when I was 20. Of course, no. But I adapt and be smart to know my strength, what I’m good to do. And I’m still playing the high level and I score goals, and I will continue to score goals. If my mind is clear and happy. And if the people surround me, they’re helping me to be successful player,, especially the coach, the president, the directors… But when you feel that the energy don’t go surround you it’s difficult for you to be yourself, which is what’s happened with me. But what they say the last three months is completely garbage and wrong. They say that they offer me this and that, and many presidents and directors speak about, they reject me. It’s a complete lie, they lie. Because this is not what’s happened. I have many clubs, not many, a few clubs that they want me to sign and I didn’t go because I feel comfortable here. This is the truth.”

 On the World Cup

*I am very optimistic. We have a fantastic coach, we have a good generation of football players. I’m looking forward that we’re going to it an amazing World Cup… [It’s] gonna be tough. Extremely difficult. But everything is possible. But of course we’re gonna compete.

 On the controversy surrounding the tournament being played in Qatar

*Exactly they should concentrate it in, in all competitions. All the national teams, the people to be welcome in Qatar, and I see, I see a good tournament to be honest. I think Qatar; they are prepared. They are prepared for that, and will be weird to play in the beginning of the season. Yes. But in the same way, a challenge. I think it’s to be honest, it’s good. I feel good. I feel with good energy.”

 On his relationship with Lionel Messi:

*Amazing player is magic, top… As a person, we share the stage 16 years, imagine, 16 years. we share. So, I have great relationship with him. I’m not friend of him in terms of, what I mean friend is the guy who was with you in your house, speaking on the phone, no, but it’s like a teammate. He’s a guy that I really respect the way he always speak about me. Even his wife or my wife, my girlfriend, they always respect and they’re from Argentina. My girlfriend is from Argentina. So good. What I am going to say about Messi? A great guy who does great things for football.

 On the chance of them playing together on the same team:

*I hope so. Manchester first, and if not, Arsenal is some team that I like to see play. I like the team. I like the coach. I think they have a good team. And if Manchester United don’t win the Premier League, I will be happy if Arsenal do.

 On his retirement plans:

*I want to play two years more, three years more. So two or three years maximum. I want to finish with 40. I think 40, will be a good age… But I don’t know, I don’t know the future. Sometimes you plan one thing for your life and as I told many times, the life is dynamic. And you never know what’s going to happen.”

 

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