The parallels are uncanny.
You would need to have a heart made from stone to not feel sorry for Lionel Messi.
Argentina’s talisman is on the verge of having his chances of World Cup glory snatched away after Croatia put Argentina to the sword.
The stark contrast in quality between Messi and his countrymen is well known, however last night’s performance proved it more than ever.
Messi cut a lonely figure on the pitch and appeared visibly distraught after Willy Caballero’s embarrassing error opened the floodgates for Croatia.
He is not the only one however to have been let down by his team-mates on the world’s biggest stage.
In some eerie coincidences, Messi’s latest woes can be found in Ronaldo’s plight at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The Portuguese forward came into the 2014 World Cup off the back of a barnstorming domestic season for Real Madrid, in which he scored 51 goals in all competitions.
The tournament had promised to be the one when Ronaldo would reach his pinnacle and lift the World Cup.
Instead, it ended in complete embarrassment and ridicule for both player and country.
Portugal were one of the most disappointing teams at the tournament and failed to progress from the group-stages.
Ronaldo and co were humiliated 4-0 by Germany in their opening group game, in a match which mirrors Argentina’s defeat to Croatia.
The Real Madrid man was a passenger against Joachim Low’s side, just as Messi was chasing shadows against Croatia.
Portugal then laboured to a 2-2 draw with USA in their second group game, a side who on paper they should have had no difficulties against.
Ronaldo and co were lucky to even get a point, with Silvestre Varela scoring in the fifth minute of added time.
Messi had his own ‘USA moment’ after a distinctly average performance against Iceland, as Argentina drew their opening group game.
The Argentina Captain had a penalty saved that could have sealed all three points for his side.
Portugal managed a 2-1 victory against Ghana in their final group game as Ronaldo scored his only goal of the tournament.
USA beat Portugal to second place, with eventual champions Germany topping the group.
They finished on just four points, the same tally that Argentina will finish on if they overcome Nigeria in their final group game.
Argentina’s fate is now out of their hands and they will need to beat Nigeria to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.
Whilst Messi has been replicating Ronaldo’s form from the last World Cup, the Real Madrid man has been scoring for fun.
Just as Messi did in 2014, the Portugal Captain has been setting the tournament alight this time.
The pair have had their World Cup fortunes flipped completely.
Ronaldo has four goals to his name so far, including a hat-trick against Spain which was followed up by the winner against Morocco.
Messi scored four in Argentina’s group games in 2014, including a long-range stunner against Iran in stoppage-time.
The goal against Iran was a moment reminiscent of Ronaldo’s last minute free-kick against Spain.
Messi then went onto be named the player of the tournament and picked up the Golden Ball Award after his four goals.
The Barcelona man has been heavily criticised after his performance against Croatia and has seen his leadership credentials questioned by the Argentine media.
Ronaldo is the living embodiment however of life after a disappointing World Cup.
The Real Madrid man dusted himself off and fired Portugal to success at Euro 2016, shaking off his laughable fraud tag.
The torrid tournament that Ronaldo endured in 2014 didn’t define his legacy, so nor should this World Cup shape the way that Messi is remembered.
Can’t we just appreciate them both?