Messi and Ronaldo's World Cup exit draws tributes from Chinese fans

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BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- The exit of Lionel Messi's Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal from the World Cup on Sunday has aroused a wide array of responses from Chinese fans.

Some are decrying the departure of the two giants as the end of an era given their advanced age, while others are taking a more circumspect view.

Fans in the soccer-mad country have always wanted to see the two super stars in a head-to-head match in the quarterfinal round, but the first two matches of the last 16 round have disappointed them.

"Messi will be 35 years old when 2022's tournament opens, and Ronaldo will be 37. We may never see their World Cup clash," said an Internet user "Miluo" on the popular sports chatroom Hupu.

A news story about their exit on Chinese soccer app Dongqiudi had attracted more than 25,000 comments just two hours after the round of 16 games finished.

"Both of them are super stars with great skills and good reputations. They carry more responsibilities and pressure than others," said Chinese women's international Ren Guixin.

There has always been argument among Chinese fans about which of the two FIFA World Players of the Year is better, but after the two stars' heartbreaking defeats, fans of both Messi and Ronaldo have given up attacking each other.

"We shall thank them for giving us wild joy in the past two weeks," an internet user "a flying teenager" said in his account on sina weibo, a twitter-like Chinese social media.

"We shall thank them for accompanying us during these years. No king rules forever, our youth has to come to an end," added the netizen.

Both Messi and Ronaldo are five-time Ballon d'Or winners, but have failed to lift the World Cup trophy during their outstanding careers.

"Winning the World Cup or not doesn't affect their greatness. Ferenc Puskas, Marco Van Basten, Roberto Baggio, or Just Fontaine are not World Cup winners, but they are all soccer legends," Internet user "Nasituolewan" commented on Dongqiudi.

Messi and Ronaldo made their World Cup debuts in 2006. In 2018, they both led their teams into the last 16, only to exit the World Cup in the space of just four hours as the knockout stages kicked off. It is still unclear whether the two can participate in the 2022 World Cup.

Comparing Messi and Ronaldo's World Cup experiences to a dream pursuing journey, Chinese fans praised the two super stars' courage and determination.

"We hold the same dream with the great footballers and we don't regret having such a wonderful dream. Our only wish is that the dream would last a bit longer," said user "Water Child" on China's social networking app Wechat.

Source: xinhuanet.com

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