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End of an era.

By Wandile Msibi

Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier, John Cena vs. Randy Orton, Ronda Rousey vs. Amanda Nunes. Those are the greatest sports rivalries of the 21st century, however they are nothing compared to the intense yet entertaining rivalry between two football gods, Lionel “La Pulga” Messi and the master of the “siuuuu”, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi and Ronaldo in their first encounter at the 2009 UEFA Champions League final

With 12 Ballon d’or’s to their names(7 for Messi and 5 for Ronaldo), they have taken the footballing world by storm since upon making their debuts in the early 2000s. They have completely shattered records that were expected to last for a very long time, however with the certain skills they have and the anticipation the fans had when watching them one would say it was not a surprise that they achieved that. Ronaldo is currently the leading goal scorer(men and women) with 819 goals in 1144 matches with with Messi not far behind by having a goal tally of 796 in 1023 games. Another aspect to look at is their trophy collection, both Individually and part of a team with Ronaldo being part of the Real Madrid team which made history by winning the UEFA Champions League three consecutive times between 2015/16 to 2017/18 and Lionel Messi’s Barcelona winning a total of six trophies during the 2008/09 season. However as one would notice time is not on their side and the unfortunate fact is that their time is almost up.

Picture taken by Annielei Bovitz right before the 2022 FIFA world cup

Respect and friendly competition is what exists among the two men as both have gone to praise one another about how they transformed soccer and it will be truly a sad day for football fans when the two G.O.A.Ts hang up their boots.

Possibly the last dance for two football icons.

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