Federation Internationale de Football Association backs Maradona but urges World Cup star to be respectful

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The knockout round of the FIFAWorld Cup has only just begun but the tournament has already lost it's biggest stars as both Lionel Messi's Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal were eliminated from the tournament on Saturday.

But it was the way Ronaldo was wearing his shorts during the loss that captured the attention of the Twittersphere.

While Ronaldo will be bitterly disappointed to be heading home earlier than planned from Russian Federation, he at least has the consolation of having won his country's first ever European Championship, two years ago in France.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos was hopeful that the Real Madrid man will continue to represent his country for some time yet, with Portugal's next challenge to defend the European Championship title they won in France two years ago.


"We gave our best", Ronaldo said.

Messi ponders what could've been.

Given their ages - Messi is 31 and Ronaldo 33 - this could be the last the world sees of the pair, who have monopolised the world player of the year award for the last 10 years, on the biggest stage of all.

They will both have expected to have gone much further this time but they did leave their mark in Russian Federation with moments that captured their remarkable talent.


Ronaldo struck a hat-trick in his opening game - a thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain, including a brilliant late free-kick to level the match.

The two titans of world football are out of the World Cup on the same day.

But with great power comes greater expectations to live up to, and for some, the inability to show up once every four years means Messi and Ronaldo will never be able to share a place with, much less overtake, Pele and Diego Maradona in the pantheon of football greats.

Messi was in headlines when he controlled a cross-field ball with his thigh, showing incredible technique, before a deft second touch and pinpoint finish against Nigeria.


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