By Sportswriter Yao Youming BEIJING
China (Xinhua) -- The exit of Lionel
Messi’s Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal from the
World Cup on Sunday has aroused a wide array of responses from
Some are decrying
the departure of the two giants as the end of an era given their
advanced age, while others are taking a more circumspect view.
Fans in the
soccer-mad country have always wanted to see the two super stars
in a head-to-head match in the quarterfinal round, but the first
two matches of the last 16 round have disappointed them.
“Messi will be 35
years old when 2022’s tournament opens, and Ronaldo will be 37.
We may never see their World Cup clash,” said an Internet user
“Miluo” on the popular sports chatroom Hupu.
A news story about
their exit on Chinese soccer app Dongqiudi had attracted more
than 25,000 comments just two hours after the round of 16 games
“Both of them are
super stars with great skills and good reputations. They carry
more responsibilities and pressure than others,” said Chinese
women’s international Ren Guixin.
There has always
been argument among Chinese fans about which of the two FIFA
World Players of the Year is better, but after the two stars’
heartbreaking defeats, fans of both Messi and Ronaldo have given
up attacking each other.
“We shall thank them
for giving us wild joy in the past two weeks,” an internet user
“a flying teenager” said in his account on sina weibo, a
twitter-like Chinese social media.
“We shall thank them
for accompanying us during these years. No king rules forever,
our youth has to come to an end,” added the netizen.
Both Messi and
Ronaldo are five-time Ballon d’Or winners, but have failed to
lift the World Cup trophy during their outstanding careers.
“Winning the World
Cup or not doesn’t affect their greatness. Ferenc Puskas, Marco
Van Basten, Roberto Baggio, or Just Fontaine are not World Cup
winners, but they are all soccer legends,” Internet user
“Nasituolewan” commented on Dongqiudi.
Messi and Ronaldo
made their World Cup debuts in 2006. In 2018, they both led
their teams into the last 16, only to exit the World Cup in the
space of just four hours as the knockout stages kicked off. It
is still unclear whether the two can participate in the 2022
Comparing Messi and
Ronaldo’s World Cup experiences to a dream pursuing journey,
Chinese fans praised the two super stars’ courage and
“We hold the same
dream with the great footballers and we don’t regret having such
a wonderful dream. Our only wish is that the dream would last a
bit longer,” said user “Water Child” on China’s social
networking app Wechat.
reacts: ‘We hope this isn’t the end for Messi’
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
Argentina’s press lamented the end of an era and
questioned whether Lionel Messi would play in another World Cup
after the Albiceleste’s 4-3 loss to France on Saturday.
The result dumped
two-time winners Argentina out of football’s flagship tournament
while France advanced to the round of 16 in Russia.
“Argentina lost to
France and are eliminated. It is the team’s worst performance at
a World Cup since 2002,” La Nacion said on its web portal.
Ole wondered if
five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi had the desire to play in
another World Cup.
eliminated, the big question is whether Leo, already at 35, will
go to Qatar in 2022,” it said in an editorial.
praised the performance of teenage forward Kylian Mbappe, who
scored twice, devastating Argentina with his raw pace and power.
“France proved too
much and gave us a reality check,” Ole said. “It was a great
match which went from 2-1 to 2-4 in the space of 11 minutes.
Mbappe tore it apart. We hope this isn’t the end for Messi.”
Clarin said: “The
dream is over: France showed no mercy toward Argentina and sent
the team home. There was an angel overlooking Argentina which
kept the team in the match until the end. But the result was
It suggested the
team would need to be rebuilt immediately with a new generation
of young players.
“The last tango was
in Kazan and it is time for a period of reconstruction,” the
newspaper opined. “The defeat to France marks the end of the
cycle of a generation of players.”
It added that
Argentina had done well to reach the final of three major
tournaments in recent years - the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Copa
America and the 2016 Copa America - despite having won nothing.
“Here [in Russia] we
saw an indomitable Mascherano, pure heart and leadership. But it
wasn’t enough. Messi was bright and dark. Angel Di Maria was on
and off. But there was no team, no game. There was courage and
embarrassment until the powerful France put things in their
place,” it concluded.