A World Cup that many deemed too mired in controversy to be a big success has proved critics wrong and been an extremely enjoyable tournament. Despite ongoing concerns around the hosts of the World Cup 2022, particularly in regard to potential human rights issues, there have been many memorable moments in this winter spectacle. Indeed, held for the first time outside of summer due to the Qatar climate, the football spectacle has seen some standout scenes.
Beyond that, the footballing extravaganza has also given us some key takeaways about the sport in general. From declining superstars to underdog heroes, to crypto’s prominent role. So, without further ado, let’s jump in.
The end of Ronaldo?
Cristiano Ronaldo has been synonymous with soccer for the past fifteen years, after exploding on to the international scene while with Manchester United in the early-mid 2000s. Beginning his career with Sporting Lisbon, the Portuguese super athlete has become the highest goal scorer in the sport’s history with 813 club and national team goals at time of writing. To put that into perspective, his career rival Lionel Messi has 764, and Brazilian icon Pele sits just behind the Argentine with 762. They make up the top three, according to data from the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).
However, his 2022 club year and his poor performances at this tournament have indeed shown a once-unimaginable decline in his abilities. Like many elite-tier athletes towards the end of their careers, his body can no longer do what his mind wills it to. Does he go to Saudi Arabia in a much-discussed deal? Perhaps to the United States? Or will the 37-year-old achieve his goal of signing for another major European club in order to compete in the Champions League? Only time will tell. One other guess is that Ronaldo will end up in Cascais. Multiple reports confirm that he enrols his five children to St Julian’s school in Carcavelos, located between Lisbon and Cascais. Let’s see where Ronaldo ends up after the world cup is over.
Crypto Comes to the Forefront
While betting as always increases heavily during major sport events, crypto casinos have also become popular during the World Cup. The crypto market is going through a ‘bearish’ cycle and many people want to have fun with their digital funds instead. It’s an exciting way to spend time while you’re waiting for the game to begin, as many of them have sports betting integrated into the site.
Additionally, crypto has played a key role in the sponsorship side of the tournament. Crypto.com, the major app and exchange site has perhaps been the most prominent of all, with their pitch-side advertising boards visible on TV screens around the world.
As well as this, there have been a multitude of NFT launches accompanying the football extravaganza. One such example is Ronaldo’s partnership with Binance. And, fan tokens released for national teams.
Want to have fun during the half time break on Sunday? Why not place a bet on the final outcome or have a whirl on a roulette table? You can view a fast growing list of crypto casinos to find out about some of the leading brands, created by a group of individuals that have been in the field of online casinos for a long time. Prior to creating crypto and casino related toplists, they had one of the biggest European information portals in the iGaming industry, which was acquired by Catena Media. Today, Catena sold their major asset to Gaming Innovation Group in a 45M euro deal.
Morocco: Underdog heroes
Despite crashing out against world champions France on Wednesday night, Morocco have been the team of the tournament in many people’s eyes. There was no sadness, just sheer pride after the loss, said Shamoon Hefez on BBC Sport. The relative minnows of international football reached the semi-finals, when many predicted a group-stage exit. Although they couldn’t replicate the success of the unfancied Euro 2004 champions Greece, they reminded many of the team with their strong resilience and success built on a watertight defence.
Will they be able to do it again in the next international soccer tournament? We’ll all have to wait and see. But, they did their country proud. And, whoever wins the final showdown on Sunday, Morocco are perhaps the people’s champions.
Lionel Messi rolls back the years
In stark contrast to his career rival Ronaldo, Argentine maestro Messi showed everyone why he’s considered the best footballer in history. While the stats have Ronaldo ahead in many areas, purists have always argued that Messi is the ‘footballer’s footballer’ out of the two icons. Indeed, the vast majority of current and former professionals say that while the Portuguese superstar is one of the best to ever play the game, only one man can claim the GOAT (Greatest of all Time) throne. And that man is Messi.
On Sunday he showed the world why that opinion is so dominant with a display not typical from a 35 year old. Even when that 35 year old is Leo Messi. Against the Croatian defence, he dribbled past several players before setting up a goal for his teammate to win the game. In what has been tipped to be the final World Cup for both he and Ronaldo, it’s certainly been a standout tournament for the former-Barcelona forward. Crypto Lists have an interesting article about the crypto exchanges behind Messi and Ronaldo. If you haven’t seen the lesser known and not regulated brand related to Messi, you will probably be surprised of the poor choice by him.
Mbabbe to take the mantle?
As we near the final moments of the Messi versus Ronaldo chapter, one that’s been ever present since the mid 2000s in a remarkable run of dominance for the duo, a new rivalry has come to the fore. When writing this, Messi done 791 goals in his career while Ronaldo stands at 819 goals. However, Messi is leading when it comes to assists with 350 vs 234 for Ronaldo.
The new race in football seems to be between Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland – of Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City respectively. The problem with this rivalry is that Haaland plays for Norway, not a team that one expects to see in any major national-team tournament. So, for the foreseeable future it would appear the international stage is the Frenchman’s.
France and Argentina go head to head in Sunday’s final. And, regardless of the winner, it’s perhaps difficult not to regard the game as a passing of the torch moment. A moment where the Messi and Ronaldo chapter closes and a new one begins. Football romantics will be rooting for the six-time Ballon d’Or winning Argentine to get his hands on the one trophy that’s eluded him thus far, cementing his place in history on the international stage in the same way he has at club and individual level.