Minute 62 ‘between Portugal and Ghana. The duel is closed. Cristiano Ronaldo, a Lusitanian idol, but going through a difficult football moment, is brought down in the area by Mohammed Salisu. The action is not clear, but judge Ismael Elfath does not hesitate and charges a penalty. It’s a chance at redemption for the gunner. Put the ball at the point of the area. He stops and takes a breath. Opposite him is goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi. But there is also history.
Short stroke, inside edge, powerful shot and to collect. Ronaldo, convert. As so many times in his successful career, the big moments are not small for him. It was not only his first goal in Qatar 2022. It was also his eighth goal in a World Cup. It was also the conquest that transformed him into the only footballer who has been able to score in five planetary events.
Run towards the corner. I jump and down. Body backwards and the characteristic phrase: “Yes!”. Your usual celebration. The one that has been imitated, even, by rivals. This time, with a special ingredient. One that puts an added value to the annotation. And to the record. Behind CR7, in one of the most notable graphic successes of recent times, an image of Lionel Messi appears on a canvas.
The Argentine star is portrayed in a cloth. Something common in football stadiums. But, on this occasion, fate wanted Cristiano Ronaldo to score right in that arc and for the Portuguese to celebrate, precisely, in the corner where the image of the 10 trans-Andean was placed.
It is, most likely, the last World Cup for both. The last time that the two footballers who have been in the arena of planetary football for the last decades share the stage. A few days ago, Messi had already scored his first goal in the tournament, also via penalty. But he ended up being overshadowed by the historical defeat of the Albiceleste against Saudi Arabia.
Along with sharing great moments on the pitch, it is worth saying that the Bug and the Flea have played the same World Cups: Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014, Russia 2018 and, now, Qatar 2022. However, the record for goals is exclusive to the former Real Madrid, because the former Barcelona could not convert in the 2010 event.
Beyond that statistic, both seek to close their careers with a notable performance in this competition. For Messi, his best position was runner-up in 2014, for Ronaldo, fourth place in 2006.
Along with the above, it is not the first time that they have made news together in recent times. Some days ago, the Louis Vuitton company brought together the two stars for a photographic campaign in which they pose in front of a chessboard. Days after the record was made public, Cristiano Ronaldo referred to the image at a press conference: “I would like to be the one who checkmates Messi,” he said on the occasion.