Ronaldo matches Messi as scoring curse in knockout rounds continues

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The Portugal star joined his Argentina rival in exiting the World Cup on Saturday with neither ever having scored in the knockout rounds

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have long been linked as great rivals for the crown of greatest ever, but the 2018 World Cup will see them exit with a similar mark on their record.

Hours after Messi’s World Cup came to an end with a 4-3 defeat to France, Ronaldo and Portugal fell 2-1 to Uruguay, meaning the Real Madrid star will not be able to add to his impressive trophy case in Russia.

It was not for lack of trying as Ronaldo attempted six shots in the contest, which was one more than Uruguay as a team had on the evening. However, only one hit the target, and was saved, leaving Ronaldo without a goal for the second straight game.

While Ronaldo got off to a fast start in Russia, scoring a hat-trick in Portugal’s 3-3 opening draw with Spain, and the winner in a 1-0 victory over Morocco, he continued and unfortunate tradition against Uruguay of failing to score in the knockout rounds of the World Cup.

It is a distinction that he shares with his Barcelona rival, whose scoreless outing against France meant he had failed to find the net in eight knockout round games.

Ronaldo went scoreless in the 2006 knockouts, with Portugal beating Netherlands 1-0 and getting by England in a scoreless contest that went to penalties before then losing to France in the semi-final. Ronaldo also failed to score in a 3-1 third-place game loss to Germany.

In 2010, Ronaldo was one and done in the knockouts, as eventual champion Spain bounced Portugal 1-0 on the strength of a David Villa goal in the round of 16.

Ronaldo played a big part in Portugal getting four points in the 2014 group stage, with an assist to earn his country a draw against the United States and the game-winning goal against Ghana, but they ultimately finished third in their group and missed the knockout stage.

Now in 2018, his streak will continue after Edinson Cavani’s brace ensured Portugal are once more out in the round of 16, though Ronaldo has had two fewer opportunities than Messi.

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In total, Messi went 756 minutes in the business end of the World Cup without scoring and Ronaldo 514 minutes. 

At 33 years old, the loss to Uruguay may have been Ronaldo's last chance at finally breaking that knockout round duck, as neither he nor Messi, who is 31, are guaranteed to be playing in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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