The World Cup comes around once every four years.
A festival of football; we are treated to three games a day, allowing us to binge on the beautiful game at an elite level.
What better platform then, to regurgitate one of the most tedious, tiresome and futile debates of recent times?
No matter how many other compelling narratives are on offer, some can’t help but compare Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at any given opportunity.
It’s incredible how quick people are to reduce the pair’s decorated careers to a straight shootout settled over the course of 90 minutes each.
Ronaldo scored a hat-trick and Messi missed a penalty.
The only logical conclusion is that the former is better than the latter — right?
Don’t worry about the decade that came before.
Forget that fact Ronaldo also underwhelmed against Iceland in a 1-1 draw at the last major international tournament —after which a foolish few attempted to dent his legacy as a result.
Erase from your memory, any hat-trick Messi may have previously scored.
It’s over, the great debate has been decided.
While it may sound like swerving a comparison right now suits those in camp Messi, the discussion also pollutes Ronaldo’s deserved celebrations.
The Real Madrid forward’s stunning free-kick to rescue a point against Spain is already a classic World Cup moment.
Why can’t we just enjoy it for what it is?
There is already enough context to make it an unforgettable game without rolling out a debate which has somewhat soured a glorious period for football fans.
Such is the toxicity of Ronaldo v Messi, those who appreciate both sometimes feel in the minority.
It should go without saying, but here it is for those not paying attention at the back.
It’s normal to think that both the five-time Ballon d’Or winners are good at football.
A definitive answer as to which of the two players is the best is not a necessary requirement.
Surely it is obvious by now that it comes down to personal preference?
And even then, each individual’s preference should be a footnote at the end of wider discussion about the joy of witnessing both in their prime.
Enjoying the phenomenal pair’s achievements has become more difficult as blindly bias followers of each have taken to hijacking any conversation about either.
Search any half-popular football video on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram and you’ll find Messi/Ronaldo propaganda in the comments.
Please, can we not turn the World Cup into a futile shouting match?
It’s almost got to the stage where I don’t want Messi or Ronaldo to do anything of note in a game.
Such is the cesspit status of social media in the aftermath.
Messi v Ronaldo has raged on for years on a game-by-game basis.
Surely the relatively rare nature of a World Cup should be immune — at least until the pair meet in a decisive knockout game?
Change the record, it’s been broken for a while now.