A tale of two GOATs!
For so many years now, the debate amongst so many football fans has split between Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi.
It is almost a cliche these days, but there is little doubt how fortunate we have been in recent years to see both Ronaldo and Messi star in La Liga together.
Every El Clasico we have been assured of seeing the two greatest players on the planet.
And, whichever side of the divide you fall upon, there is no doubt that Ronaldo and Messi are on a different planet from the rest of the world’s best.
Both right now and for pretty much the whole of the last decade.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Leo Messi at World Cup 2018
The current World Cup in Russia was always earmarked as the last major tournament for Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi.
Don’t be surprised if we see Ronaldo and Messi at the 2022 World Cup, but they won’t be at the peak of their powers.
Ronaldo arrived in Russia as the Ballon d’Or holder and on the back of three successive Champions League wins with Real Madrid.
Messi’s past season was not too shabby, as the Argentine won the Spanish domestic double with Barcelona.
In recent days though, Ronaldo and Messi have produced markedly different performances.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s incredible performance against Spain
Cristiano Ronaldo produced a performance for the ages as Portugal drew with Spain 3-3 on Friday night.
In an encounter that will long be remembered, Ronaldo scored two in the first half, from a penalty and David De Gea mistake.
And, then shaped the full post-match discussion with an incredible free-kick to tie the match at 3-3.
Whatever happens at this World Cup, Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Spain (the 51st of his incredible career) will be remembered for many years to come!
Leo Messi struggles against Iceland
For Leo Messi, it was the exact opposite on Saturday as Argentina could only draw 1-1 with Iceland.
The big moment for Messi was a missed penalty in the second half that would likely have given Argentina a much-needed win.
But, there were also seriously worrying signs on show for Argentina as well. Not least a complete over-dependency on Messi as well as a shaky goalkeeper and defence.
Ronaldo & Messi betting markets change dramatically
There are two individual awards that Ronaldo and Messi are in the mix for at the World Cup: Golden Boot and Golden Ball.
Watching either Ronaldo or Messi finish as World Cup top goal scorer would be no surprise considering their goal-scoring exploits in their respective goal-laden careers.
Messi won the Golden Ball at the last World Cup without actually playing that well, and where the Barcelona star looked devoid of energy.
Cristiano Ronaldo now the favourite for Golden Boot & Golden Ball
Ronaldo’s performance against Spain has lifted him to both the top of the betting markets in both Golden Boot and Ball.
For comparison, Ronaldo started the tournament at 14/1 for top goal scorer and 20/1 to be crowned as best player.
These have shifted dramatically after an incredible display versus Spain, to 2/1 top goal scorer and 6/1 for the Golden Ball.
Leo Messi goes from favourite to almost nowhere after one game!
Messi, meanwhile, has gone the other way. The Argentine started the tournament as the favourite for World Cup top goal scorer at 9/1 and also 9/1 to win the Golden Ball again.
To say Messi’s odds have drifted after Argentina’s draw with Iceland and the missed penalty is an understatement.
The Argentina captain is now 16/1 to finish as top goal scorer. And, 12/1 for the Golden Ball.
What next for Cristiano Ronaldo & Leo Messi?
Having drawn with Spain, next up for Portugal is Morocco on Wednesday. Followed by Iran in eight days time.
In the form Ronaldo showed on Friday night, more goals can surely be expected from the Real Madrid talisman.
Perhaps now is the time to start backing Ronaldo for the individual betting markets. As it might be too late to get any value from Ronaldo for Golden Ball and Golden Boot if those two matches go as expected.
Conversely, this might now be the time to start backing Leo Messi. Argentina still have two games to play in their group, against Croatia on Thursday and Nigeria on the following Tuesday.
*Odds from Bet365.