Twilight of the GOATS? Messi and Ronaldo See Their Records Broken by Younger Athletes

© AP Photo / Joan MonfortBarcelona's Lionel Messi, right, and Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo during the Champions League group G soccer match between FC Barcelona and Juventus at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020
Barcelona's Lionel Messi, right, and Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo during the Champions League group G soccer match between FC Barcelona and Juventus at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
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Ever since the football world was graced by the presence of the Argentine and Portuguese strikers, pundits have been asking the same questions: what will football look like after the two hang up their boots, and more importantly, who (if anyone) will replace them?
They are two of the most acclaimed football players, who have set countless records, but even greats like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will likely be surpassed by the younger generation of athletes. Serb Dusan Vlasovic matched Ronaldo’s 2020/21 goal scoring record when the Portuguese netted 33 goals in Serie A matches. Vlasovic may beat Ronaldo's record on Wednesday, when his club Fiorentina faces Verona.

Lionel Messi saw one of his records shattered by the club’s up-and-coming midfielder Gavi. The Spaniard beat Messi’s record, becoming the second-youngest athlete to score a goal at the age of 17. He was 196 days younger than Messi. Serb Dusan Tadic broke Messi’ 2011 record for total assists in a calendar year. Back then, the Argentine scored 73 goals and gave 32 assists.

Dusan, who has been playing for Dutch giants Ajax since 2018 and was instrumental in helping the club reach UEFA Champions League in 2019, made 37 assists.

This year’s football season has been relatively unsuccessful for both Cristiano Ronaldo, 36, and Lionel Messi, 34. The Portuguese netted 13 goals and gave two assists. His club is ranked sixth in the Premier League and lags 17 points behind leaders Chelsea. Lionel Messi scored six goals and gave five assists. His club Paris Saint-Germain is now leading the table with a 13 point gap, but the club’s focus in recent years has been the golden medals of the Champions League.

PSG will face off against Real Madrid in the last 16 of the tournament, while Manchester United will play against Atletico Madrid.
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