Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
Will we see Ronaldo and Messi in another World Cup?

Right after Cristiano Ronaldo set the World Cup 2018 stage on fire with a hat-trick in Portugal's opening match against Spain last month, comparisons were made between the Real Madrid superstar and his nemesis, Lionel Messi.

And when the Barcelona legend missed a penalty the following day in Argentina's opener, he was put under the pump as the "GOAT" debate intensified.

Such was the pressure on the two men, considered the greatest footballers in the modern era. Both Messi and Ronaldo had headed to Russia with huge burdens of expectations as it was perceived that the legends might not be playing another World Cup for their respective countries.

Both Portugal and Argentina scraped through to the knockout stages and when a possible quarter-final meeting was on cards, the hype around the World Cup hit the roof. 

However, on Saturday, June 30, both Messi and Ronaldo's World Cup campaigns in Russia came to an end.

With hours of Argentina's defeat to France in a seven-goal thriller in Kazan, Portugal were outclassed by a well-oiled Uruguayan side in Sochi.

Despite two better teams, in France and Uruguay, progressing to the quarter-finals, the exits of Messi and Ronaldo, the global superstars of football, would have been hard to digest for quite a few football fans. Suddenly there was no debate about their "GOAT" status but only empathy for the legends.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo hasn't scored in the knockout stages of a World Cup, yet!PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images
Lionel Messi Argentina France
Lionel Messi reacts after France score against ArgentinaCatherine Ivill/Getty Images

Is it the end of an era?

In what is certainly an anti-climax to their World Cup careers, both Ronaldo and Messi will be leaving Russia without being able to score in the knockout stages of the quadrennial tournament's history.

Doubts remain over both their international futures. Messi, 31, had already announced retirement from international duty once in 2016 only to reverse his decision soon after. On the other hand, Ronaldo, 33, is not growing younger and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar seems to be far away now.

IBTimes, India has compiled a list of reactions to Messi and Ronaldo's early exits from World Cup 2018, Check them out below.