Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and the House of Saud

<span>Photograph: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images


The results are in, and it turns out that nobody on the internet knew what they were talking about after all. You see, Tuesday’s events finally settled the argument that’s been raging since time immemorial: who is best? Is it Messi? Or is it Ronaldo? Well, it transpires that it’s neither. We now have incontrovertible proof that Messi is a glaikit waste of space who isn’t fit to lace Diego Maradona’s boots, and Ronaldo is such a loser that his club have got shot, its owners seemingly so desperate to disassociate themselves with him that they’ve decided to sell up for that one extra level of remove. That’s all decided, then. Everybody happy.

Messi spent the majority of Argentina’s humiliating Human Rights World Cup defeat to Saudi Arabia wandering around lost, staring either at an undefined spot exactly 1,000 yards into the distance, or straight down at the floor. It’s his new big-game look, and one fans of Roma, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Germany and France will recognise very well. And one with which Bayern fans will soon become reacquainted. The result, which ended tournament favourites Argentina’s 36-match unbeaten run, was instantly catapulted towards the top of the list of great World Cup upsets, almost as jaw-dropping as England’s 1-0 defeat to the USA in 1950, and nearly as funny. Ah well, at least it doesn’t make Messi’s lucrative agreement to promote Saudi around the world any more awkward than it already is.

While Messi’s superannuated delusions of adding the World Cup to his resumé have been dented, Ronaldo’s are still very much fully intact. Portugal won’t get their trousers handed to them in a high hat by Ghana until Thursday afternoon, and in the meantime, he can prepare for that match unencumbered by club concerns. All he has to worry about now is where to go next, and if you believe anything you read in the papers, he’ll be choosing between Chelsea, some publicity-hungry outfit in the 14th tier who have put out a press release that even Paddy Power would consider too gauche, Al-Nassr or Newcastle United. Should he plump for either of the last two, like Messi he too would find himself shilling for the House of Saud. That things have come to this for the supposed greatest players of all time. Oh, and on that subject, the actual answer, seeing you’re asking, is obviously Gerd Müller. Internet decided! Everybody happy!


Morocco 0-0 Croatia is already in the can. Next up with Scott Murray is Germany 2-0 Japan at 1pm GMT, followed by Rob Smyth on Spain 4-1 Costa Rica at 4pm and Beau Dure on Belgium 2-2 Canada from 7pm.


“There is only one candidate, and we’ll have to see if there’s another candidate, there is still time, but Denmark will not be supporting the current president. This situation is quite extraordinary. I’m not just disappointed, I’m angry. This is my seventh finals … It is that the players have to be exposed to this is completely unacceptable. We have to respond to it” – Danish FA president Jesper Moeller will not support Gianni Infantino’s inevitable re-election as Fifa overlord.

Gianni takes in Morocco 0-0 Croatia.
Gianni takes in Morocco 0-0 Croatia. Photograph: Abir Sultan/EPA


“Has this HR World Cup ruined the magic of the 100-minute match? There always used to be a thrill about passing into triple figures, but now it’s so common, it feels a little mundane” – Jim Hearson.

“I typically don’t gamble on the football, but I’ve just bet the house on Wednesday’s Group E opener ending in a draw. I’m a big fan of the alternative rock band, Wilco, and I’ve taken inspiration from their lyrics: ‘Impossible Germany, unlikely Japan’” – R Reisman [any other lyrics able to predict results? – Football Daily Ed].

“I read the piece on Canada’s Jonathan David with interest, as he shares his name with one of my favourite Belle & Sebastian songs. Which got me thinking if any other footballers could claim the same – and Leicester’s Wout Faes doesn’t count, as that’s a Crowded House album, and not an actual song” – Owen Powell.

“With the recent name change, it occurs to me that perhaps each day there should be an unsourced, unsubstantiated gossip story about Dutch defensive midfielders. You could call it, oh, I don’t know, the Daily blind item?” – Edward Dean.

Send your letters to And you can always tweet Football Daily – while you can – via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Owen Powell.

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