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5 reasons why Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo may not dominate in 2017/18

Messi and Ronaldo are the world's best players but could their era of dominance finally be coming to an end?

Top 5 / Top 10 17 May 2017, 22:37 IST
Ronaldo’s body has been honed in the gym but can it hold up into his 30s?

For the best part of the last decade, two names have dominated world football more than any others: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The great rivals have broken countless records, scored insane amounts of goals and have pushed each other all the way to greatness. There can be no question as to whether the duo belongs in the pantheon of football’s all-time greats anymore.

Also read: What happens to the world of football after Messi and Ronaldo retire?

Next season though is 2017/18. It’s a long way removed from when Messi and Ronaldo broke onto the scene as exciting young talent, and both men are now battle-scarred veterans of the game. Could it be that their age of dominance is finally coming to an end? Could next season be the one that isn’t dominated by the Argentine wizard at Barca and the Portuguese powerhouse of Madrid? Quite possibly, and here are five reasons why.

#1 Can Ronaldo’s body hold out at his age?

One of the points always brought up by the pro-Ronaldo camp is that his talent is perhaps not as natural as Messi’s – he’s had to work harder for what he’s got. That’s obviously a massively admirable trait, but could it potentially turn into a drawback? Ronaldo clearly works as hard, if not harder, than any other top footballer inside the gym. His body barely resembles that of his footballing peers and looks more like that of a natural bodybuilder.

Does he need all that muscle? I’m not so sure. He’s clearly a very physically strong player, but it also looks like he’s carrying excess muscle on what is a smaller frame, probably for aesthetic purposes.

It hasn’t caused him any issues thus far admittedly, but as he comes into the latter part of his career – he turns 33 in February – it could become a cause for concern. So much gym work – likely with a heavy strength and conditioning approach that could involve Olympic lifts – has been known to catch up with older athletes and injuries to worn joints like the knees and shoulders are not uncommon.

Ronaldo’s physical strength has always served him brilliantly but a bad muscular injury based on his age and the wear and tear on his body isn’t out of the realm of possibility. And if it were to happen next season, at the age of 32/33, then it wouldn’t be good at all.

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