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GUEST COLUMN: What is next for football after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?

As the two legends of the game gracefully embrace the final years of their peak, we have a look at what is next in line for the world of football. 

Written By: Favour Emoabino
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have outrightly dominated world football for 10 years. They have shared the spoils of conquered records between them for these golden years. The two players are considered by the majority of football fans as the greatest players to ever grace the beautiful game. They have garnered fans from all over the globe and are seen as the icons of modern football. But with both of them near the end of their careers, the question arises, what happens when they say goodbye?

Cristiano Ronaldo has been at 4 major clubs so in his career: Sporting CP in Portugal, Manchester United in England, Real Madrid in Spain, and quite recently Juventus in Italy. Between these clubs, he has won Balon d’Or for 5 times, the most of any players and joint with the eternal rival, Leo Messi. He’s won many trophies with these clubs and is seen by many fans as the Greatest Player of All Times. But with the man nearing the end of his career, at the prime age of 33, fans are beginning to wonder who to look up to after his formal departure. His former club, Real Madrid has failed to replace him after his departure in June 2018. The club has hired two managers after his departure already in a bid to even the playing field that CR7’s departure unbalanced. All have failed so far.

Leo Messi, famously known as the man with the rubber feet, is the only player who has managed to stay at the top with Cristiano Ronaldo for so many years. Despite never leaving Barcelona, his legendary status has been cemented by all of football. With 5 Balon d’Ors, he has won everything football has to offer including the treble, a record Cristiano Ronaldo is still to boast of. His shortcomings have only come with his national team, Argentina. Despite reaching several finals, he has been unable to win anything for his country. He is only two years behind CR7 in age, as he too, is nearing the end of his career. His fans span all across the globe with even players of rival clubs attesting to his greatness.

The end of Cristiano Ronaldo & Leo Messi’s careers will mean one thing for football; the end of a golden age of football. Lovers of football worldwide are curious and skeptical as to what will happen when these players pull the plugs on the careers. Fans will need players who can hold the torch as highly, if not higher as these two have held it. As a result of this, clubs are beginning to put more effort into grooming young players.

The players most likely to replace these two eternal legends are among others such as Neymar Jr, The Brazilian skipper whose talent of holding on to the ball is unrivaled by all of football. Kylian Mbappe, the 20-year old of Frenchman who has won the world cup already. Paolo Dybala, the Juventus captain whose talent is obvious to all. Also, Mohammed Salah & Eden Hazard. These players have shown the most talents while breaking several records along the way. Young players like Jordan Sancho, Vinicius Jnr, Marco Asensio are being looked up to do what these players have done.

It is indeed true that nobody will be able to maintain the raging fire that CR7 and LM10 have gifted the world of football, but young nurturing talents have shown sparks of what these two legends had throughout their careers. All of football will indeed miss CR7 & LM10, but with recent events showing themselves, it is becoming very evident that football is in capable hands.

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