Messi and Ronaldo’s miserable World Cup knockouts scoring record

Despite dominating club football for more than a decade, the pair are yet to convert in the latter stages of the game's greatest competition

It is sometimes said that the World Cup starts in earnest once the group stages are out of the way. However, the tournament's knockout rounds have still not seen the best of either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Argentina attacker and the Portugal forward are each playing in their fourth World Cup, having featured in 2006, 2010 and 2014 prior to the current competition in Russia.

And despite dominating domestically now for the past decade, winning the past 10 Ballons d'Or between them, the Barcelona and Real Madrid superstars are yet to score in the knockout stages of a World Cup.

Messi made his World Cup debut in Germany 12 years ago and netted against Serbia & Montenegro, one of just three appearances as Argentina exited in the quarter-finals on penalties to the hosts.

In 2010, he was on fine form for Diego Maradona's side, yet failed to convert at all as the Albiceleste went out again to Germany in the last eight, while his four goals en route to the final at Brazil 2014 all came in the group (against Bosnia, Iran and Nigeria).

Another goal against Nigeria on Tuesday night helped Argentina advance to the last 16 of this competition and his side's hopes of beating France on Saturday will rest largely on his shoulders.

Even though Messi played his part in setting up Angel Di Maria against Switzerland and Gonzalo Higuain versus Belgium and also scored his penalty in the semi-final shootout success over Netherlands, he did not score after the 3-2 win over Nigeria at Brazil 2014.

Overall, he has hit six goals in his 18 World Cup appearances, but if Argentina are to continue in this competition, Jorge Sampaoli's side are likely to need more Messi strikes in Russia this summer.

Ronaldo Messi World Cup goals

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The same can be said of Portugal. So far, Ronaldo has netted four of his side's five goals at this World Cup, having hit a hat-trick in the 3-3 draw with Spain in their first match and then the winner in a 1-0 victory over Morocco.

Prior to this tournament, the 33-year-old had only scored three World Cup goals – group stage efforts against Iran (a penalty in 2006), North Korea (2010) and Ghana (2014), although he also converted the winning penalty against England in the quarter-finals 12 years ago in Germany.

For the current European champions to progress beyond Uruguay in the last 16 this time, however, and for Ronaldo (who has seven in 16 appearances overall) to have any chance of claiming the Golden Boot, he too will need to break his duck in the knockout stages of a World Cup.

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