Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo: numbers and memorable performances of each one in the World Cups [Videos]

Photo: PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

The two best players of the 21st century and perhaps in the history of football could not stay out of a fifth and possibly last World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi secured their tickets in Qatar 2022 and at the end of the year they will try to enter the Olympus of World Cup events.

Messi already knows what it’s like to play in a world final, but he couldn’t win it in 2014. While CR7 reached a creditable fourth place in their first date in 2006. Both know what it means to win with their countries by lifting the Copa América and the European Championship, the only thing missing is the World Cup in their showcases.

For now, they will work to get physically well to what could be the last big date for this legendary duo. And the moment they step onto the pitch in Qatar, they will join a select group as the only ones to play in five World Cups: 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022.

That list includes Antonio ‘La Tota’ Carbajal when playing the World Cups of 1950, 1954, 1948, 1962 and 1966. Then he signed up Lothar Matthaus when playing in 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998.

Gianluigi Buffonbeing in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. The last one to get involved was Rafael Marquez by defending Mexico in 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018. Even Mexicans Guillermo Ochoa and Andrés Guardado could sign up, both played in 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018.

The World Cups of CR7 and Leo Messi

Germany 2006

Cristiano Ronaldo 6 PJs | 3GP | 1 XP | 2 PPs | 1G

Lionel Messi: 3 PJs | 2GP | 1 XP | 0 P.P. | 1G

Both debuted in the World Cups in Germany and Cristiano Ronaldo fared better when he played six games and finished fourth. They lost in the semis against France and in the match for third place against Germany. CR7 scored a goal against Iran on matchday two.

Messi scored against Serbia and Montenegro in a 6-0 win, Pekerman gave him the opportunity and at 88′ he left his mark. Argentina was eliminated in the quarterfinals against Germany on penalties.

South Africa 2010

Cristiano Ronaldo: 4 PJ | 1GP | 2 EP | 1 PP | 1G

Lionel Messi: 5 PJs | 4GP | 0 XP | 1 PP | 0G

Portugal fell in the round of 16 against Spain, which ultimately ended up being the world champion. Cristiano did not have his best performance and could barely score against North Korea in a 7-0 win. Argentina, led by Maradona, reached the quarterfinals and there they were thrashed by Germany 4-0. Leo left blank, without goals.

Brazil 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo: 3 PJ | 1GP | 1 XP | 1 PP | 1G

Lionel Messi: 7 PJ | 5GP | 1 XP | 1 PP | 4G

It was a performance to be forgotten as far as CR7 is concerned. He arrived physically depleted from his season at Real Madrid and Portugal paid dearly for it by being eliminated in the Group of Death with Germany, the United States and Ghana. The ‘7’ provided an assist against the USA and scored against Ghana.

On the other hand, Messi had his best individual and collective performance in World Cup events. He made it to the final and they lost to Germany in extra time. Leo billed against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and brace against Nigeria. All in group stage.

Russia 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo 4 PJs | 1GP | 2 EP | 1 PP | 4G

Lionel Messi: 4 PJs | 1GP | 1 XP | 2 PPs | 1G

Cristiano had his best individual performance in Russia when he scored three against Spain in the premiere and then scored against Morocco. Portugal fell in the round of 16 against Uruguay.

Messi had a gray World Cup with just one goal on matchday 3 of the group stage against Nigeria. Argentina fell in the round of 16 against France, which then ended with the cup in hand.

Total numbers in World Cups

Cristiano Ronaldo – 4 World Cups

17 games played

6 won

6 draws

5 lost

7 goals

2 assists

22 chances created

38 dribbles completed

0.41 goals per game

Lionel Messi – 4 World Cups

19 games played

12 won

3 draws

4 lost

6 goals

5 assists

54 chances created

110 dribbles completed

0.31 goals per game

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