The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be the last international tournament for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the most talked about players in football history. Both players have the talent around them to break through, but who will have the biggest impact on their team in Qatar?
Here’s what FOX Sports football analysts think:
Does Messi have the squad to win the World Cup this year?
Doug McIntyre: Yes. After years of carrying Argentina on his back and a string of near misses — the Albiceleste reached three consecutive finals (a World Cup, a Copa América and the Copa América Centenario between 2014-16, only to lose them all) . But something changed last year when Messi won his first title with Argentina. He now has a supporting cast around him – Emiliano Martínez, fellow striker Julián Álvarez, midfielders Rodrigo De Paul and Giovani Lo Celso and young defender Nahuel Molina – who do not seem burdened by this history of failure. This is Messi’s last chance to win the big one. But it might also be his best.
Martin Rogers: For once, that’s the wrong question. It used to be about whether he had enough support for his brilliance — and the answer was always no. Now it’s about whether Messi personally has enough to add that extra sparkle to a stacked Argentina squad.
Landon Donovan: No.
Carli Lloyd: With newly appointed coach Lionel Scaloni he has created a system that values and enhances the quality of each player while ensuring collective success. It has a mix of experienced players and new promising young talent. They seem to have a sense of their identity now, and it will require Messi to be at his best, with this likely to be his last World Cup.
[World Cup 2022 Group C Team Guides: Argentina]
Ali Wagner: I think he has the team to go far. I think what we saw in the Copa America was the value of team chemistry and those intangibles that made the difference. This time, the pressure is not only on him to score. It feels like there is more balance in the team than ever before. He feels the other players are willing to not take any responsibility and not just pass it on to Messi. I think their back line is more solid with Cristian Romero in there, I think they have a goalkeeper who can make big saves, I think you have balance in midfield. I think they can definitely lift the trophy and I think the pressure, in a way, takes them away from winning the Copa America. They can just play a little more freely and that’s when they’re at their best.
In Holden: Absolutely.
Chad Ochocinco: Messi has the team to win the World Cup. They just can’t put it all on his shoulders.
Kelly Smith: Yes, although that’s more because Scaloni’s system is extremely geared towards getting a lot out of Messi without expecting him to do everything. This could be their tournament.
Argentinian Lionel Messi: No. 2
Messi is known for his finishing, passing, technical ability and is ranked No. 2 in Stu Holden’s Top 50 Players at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Maurice Edu: Yes, it does. We saw how he led this group to Copa America success and how they were so united and motivated. I think this team is better balanced than Argentina’s previous teams and showed success on the way to the Copa America. If more motivation was needed, Messi said this will be his last World Cup on the condition that.
Kobe Jones: Yes, it does. He is surrounded by talent who can score, defend and create. It will allow him to do special things. To create moments of magic.
Eniola Aluko: Yes! Argentina have a brilliant squad with many top players in form for their clubs including Messi. Argentina are unbeaten in 35 matches and will need a lot to win. This could be the year Argentina win the World Cup.
Warren Burton: Yes. They have a bit of X Factor. Ever since they won the Copa America, he’s had this big question mark off his back, which should never have been there because he’s arguably the best player we’ve ever seen – he’s a gift from God. In that sense, that would just make him so. I think he’s got all the aspects – he’s got that back line now. He was always so heavy going forward, but I think they have a good balance now with the players they have.
[Messi and Ronaldo’s last dance is a battle over legacy]
Can Portugal still count on Cristiano Ronaldo?
McIntyre: Yes. As much as Ronaldo has struggled during a drama-filled season with Manchester United, he is still the mainstay, captain and centerpiece of a Portugal attack that has been built around him for 20 years and knows exactly how to get it done. the ball to him. With the right serve, Ronaldo can still score and playing in front of a global audience for the last time could well bring out the best in him.
Rogers: Ronaldo isn’t in the best of moods these days, just ask Manchester United. But he has sometimes used drama at club level as fuel to shine for the national team. I believe he will have a great tournament.
Donovan: Somehow but not like in the past. Don’t be surprised if they don’t progress out of the group.
Lloyd: Ronaldo will still score goals, but the unknown will be how well he can put away his chances seeing limited consistent minutes for Manchester United this season. Portugal are still good without Ronaldo on the pitch. If Ronaldo plays and takes advantage of his scoring opportunities, he can certainly add value.
Wagner: They can count on him for goals. they can’t count on him for 90-minute performances. I think he needs to be a role player in this World Cup more than ever, and we’ve seen that maybe that’s not the best place for him. Maybe he learned his lesson with Man United. If he chooses to lead the line for every game or every four days, I think they can count on him to produce, I just don’t think they can count on him to get them where they ultimately want to go, at least not alone. But I think he has the team around him to be a risky proposition.
Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo: No. 4
Ronaldo is known for his finishing, technical ability, aerial ability and is No. 4 in Stu Holden’s Top 50 Players at the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup.
Chad Ochocinco: You can always count on Ronaldo. I expect CR7 to do what he always does and take his team far.
Blacksmith: If his season with Manchester United is far ahead, then it is difficult to say for sure. Ronaldo will still be a threat, but is he capable of sustaining the required work rate for 90 minutes? That said, he has a history of delivering for Portugal when it counts.
Education: Yes, it does. We saw how he led this group to Copa America success and how they were so united and motivated. I think this team is better balanced than Argentina’s previous teams and showed success on the way to the Copa America. If more motivation was needed, Messi said this will be his last World Cup on the condition that.
Jones: Yes, be a star. Not to do it all. I expect CR has something to prove and can be a problem for all his opponents.
Eniola Aluko: Yes, Cristiano can still score goals and will want to show the world that he is still the best despite his problems at Manchester United. It will be interesting to see if he starts or comes off the bench, but I doubt for Portugal that Ronaldo will settle for anything less than being the centerpiece of the team.
Burton: They can, but I’m not sure if it will happen this time. I think there’s a lot going on in his life and the team he’s in is not an easy team.
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