For many years, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi dominated the world of football, and fans seemed to have turned a blind eye to many other great players as the media focused on the most important rivalry of the century.

But tomorrow, Thursday, the world may witness the last dance between the Portuguese and Argentine stars, but it will not be what the fans had hoped for.

Ronaldo settled in the Saudi victory in a huge deal after his contract with Manchester United was terminated, and fate wanted his first match in Saudi Arabia to be against his rival, Messi, the star of Paris Saint-Germain, and thus it would be an exhibition confrontation away from the pressure of competitions and titles.

The best 🐐 is

rising in #AlNassr!


– Al-Nasr Saudi Club (@AlNassrFC) January 10, 2023

Since the first confrontation between them in April 2008, when Barcelona tied at home to Manchester United in the semi-finals of the Champions League, which is the only negative tie between them, their confrontation has turned into an event that fans around the world await.

Ronaldo and Messi dominated the Golden Ball award for the best player in the world since 2008 until Luka Modric broke this dominance when he led Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final and Real Madrid to the Champions League title.

But Messi soon regained the title in 2019, while Ronaldo settled for third place.

And with the award being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2021 saw Ronaldo drop out of the top 3 for the first time since then, while Messi reached his seventh Ballon d'Or.

How did you feel at this moment?


- FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@fifaworldcup_ar) December 19, 2022

Messi advantage

The two players did nothing in the 2021-2022 season, leaving together from the list of the first 3 players for the first time ever since 2007.

All eyes were on them during the last World Cup in Qatar at the end of last year, with expectations that the winner of the title would have the advantage in the race for the identity of the best in the history of the game.

Things were not going well for Ronaldo in the run-up to the tournament, as he sought to leave United until he achieved what he wanted, but after a crisis due to an interview in which he criticized the club and coach Eric ten Hag.

Ronaldo's start in the Qatar World Cup was not good, as former national team coach Fernando Santos removed him from the starting line-up before Portugal bid farewell to the competitions in the quarter-finals.

On the other hand, Messi seemed more stable since winning the Copa America in 2021 and the disappointing start of Argentina by losing to Saudi Arabia in the first match in the World Cup.

But Argentina's coronation in the World Cup on the night of December 18 gave Messi the only title almost missing from Ronaldo's prize coffers, and gave him an absolute advantage.

Raise the voice 🔊

Enjoy Messi's wild celebration with the fans 🎉🇦🇷 @Argentina |

#FIFA_World_Cup |

#Qatar 2022

- FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@fifaworldcup_ar) December 18, 2022

Football fans believe that Thursday's confrontation in Riyadh may be the end of the era of confrontations between the two great rivals, while some believe that in light of their continuation in the stadiums, there may be other confrontations.

The question remains: Will Ronaldo's declining level make this special confrontation lose its luster?

Or is it out of competition?