Whenever the debate about the greatest footballer of all time begins, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are invariably the first two names brought forward. The duo has dismantled records left, right and centre since rising to the top of European football for their respective clubs, even winning the Ballon d'Or five times apiece.
However, while they have dominated club football like no other pair in history has, they have struggled to ignite the world stage in a similar vein. Messi and Ronaldo have both failed to lift the World Cup trophy even once and the 2018 World Cup in Russia might be their last chance to get their hands on the coveted prize.
However, even if one of them does manage to lead their side to glory, there are still a number of World Cup records that they will never be able to break.
Here are five World Cup records both Messi and Ronaldo will never break before they retire.
#1 Most championships - 3 (Pele)
Brazilian legend and arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Pele, won the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He remains the only player to have ever lifted the prestigious trophy on three occasions.
As many as 20 other players have won the competition on two separate occasions, including Ronaldo, Cafu and Giuseppe Meazza. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, have failed to lift the trophy even once, with the Argentine falling at the final hurdle in Brazil in 2014, losing to Germany in the final.
Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, has only ever managed to make the semi-final once with Portugal, way back in 2006, and considering the squad they possess this time around, that is unlikely to change.
Ronaldo is now 33 and Messi 30, meaning they would need to play for 12 more years to equal Pele's haul which is impossible.
#3 Most goals scored in a single edition - 13 (Just Fontaine)
This is probably one record that will never be broken by anyone, let alone just Messi or Ronaldo. Just Fontaine wrote his name into the record books with stunning performances in the 1958 World Cup. Fontaine scored 13 goals in just 6 games in the competition, more than double anyone else's tally.
60 years down the line and no one has come close to breaking it, with Gerd Muller managing 10 goals in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
To put things into perspective, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have struck just 5 and 3 goals respectively in their entire FIFA World Cup career thus far.
#3 Oldest goalscorer - 42 years, 1 month and 8 days (Roger Milla)
Roger Milla, one of the greatest players in World Cup history, broke his own record of being the oldest goalscorer in the competition when he hit the back of the net against Russia in the 1994 World Cup, aged 42. Cameroon though would end up losing the game 6-1.
Currently, Messi is aged 30 and Ronaldo is 33, meaning they would need to play at least 3 more World Cups to be able to break Milla's record. Messi already announced his international retirement once before reversing his decision and deciding to continue playing for Argentina. He has also hinted that he might walk away at the end of the FIFA World Cup 2018. Ronaldo too seems to be slowing down and there is simply no way he is going to continue playing 12 years down the line, meaning Milla's record, while it might indeed be broken somewhere down the line, it will not be by one of these 2.
#4 Most goals scored - 16 (Miroslav Klose)
In three editions apiece so far, Messi and Ronaldo have managed just 5 and 3 goals respectively. With Messi serving as more of a playmaker for Argentina, his goalscoring output has taken a hit and hence he is unlikely to even get near Klose's figure.
For Ronaldo, meanwhile, this could in all likelihood be his last World Cup as a player meaning he needs a whopping 14 goals to overhaul Klose, which is simply not going to happen considering the style of play Portugal employ and the personnel in their team.
#5 Most World Cup final appearances - 3 (Cafu)
Cafu, considered by many to be one of the greatest right-backs of all time, represented Brazil in 4 FIFA World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006) and played in 3 finals (1994, 1998, 2002). He is the only player in World Cup history to have played in 3 different World Cup finals.
Lionel Messi has only ever played in one final for Argentina and Ronaldo has never even made a final with Portugal meaning this is yet another record that the duo will never be able to break.