Moscow: While football has known to unite people all over the globe, strangely it can also have consequences. In a bizarre incident on Wednesday, a married Russian couple got divorced after a heated Lionel Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo debate.
The man, named Arsen, got into an argument with his wife Lyudmila after Argentina’s victory over Nigeria, according to Russian newspaper Argumento I Fakti.
The football-crazy couple got into a row until Arsen decided to pack his bags and leave while his missus argued Portugal skipper Ronaldo was better.
"Since the beginning of the World Cup, she mocked Messi and said he couldn't even score a penalty against Iceland. I could not contain myself and told her what I thought about the vain Ronaldo, the Portuguese national team and all the clubs she likes. Then I took my belongings and left her forever," he said while speaking to the press.
The husband later recalled when he first met his wife in a bar while watching the 2002 World Cup together and that it was love at first sight while discussing football. However, things got ugly soon after Argentina and Portugal crashed out of the FIFA World Cup 2018 knockout stages, resulting in a fiery discussion.
This was not the first instance where the couple indulged in a football debate but Arsen decided he was done and filed a divorce after 14 years of relationship at the Chelyabinsk city court in the Urals.
Messi’s Argentina lost 4-3 to France and hours later Ronaldo’s Portugal went down 2-1 to Uruguay, leaving the tournament without it's two best known and most loved players.
Given their ages - Messi is 31 and Ronaldo 33 - this could be the last the world sees of the pair, who have monopolised the world player of the year award for the last 10 years, on the biggest stage of all.
If Barcelona forward Messi, who previously quit the Argentina team in 2016 before changing his mind, does not continue until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, he will end his career without a major trophy for his country.
After winning a gold medal with Argentina in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, many expected the little forward to take his country to glory in a World Cup or at least the Copa America.
Yet despite his brilliance - and some talented teammates — Argentina have remained without such a trophy — losing to Germany in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals and suffering the same fate in the 2014 final in Rio.
While Real Madrid’s Ronaldo will also be bitterly disappointed to be heading home earlier than planned from Russia, he at least has the consolation of having won his country’s first ever European Championship, two years ago in France.
Ronaldo played a leadership role in that triumph and Portugal coach Fernando Santos said he hopes he will continue and help him with a new generation of players.
“Certainly, yes, Cristiano still has a lot to give to football. There is a tournament in September, the UEFA (Nations League) and we hope he will be with us to help the younger ones to grow,” he told reporters.
Remarkably, the pair pack their bags still never having scored in a World Cup knockout game.
They will both have expected to have gone much further this time but they did leave their mark in Russia with moments that captured their remarkable talent.
Ronaldo struck a hat-trick in his opening game - a thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain, including a brilliant late free-kick to level the match.
He also grabbed the only goal in the 1-0 victory over Morocco.
Messi’s return in Russia was more meagre — at times he looked disillusioned on the field as Argentine struggled to find anything like their usual style and he drifted deep into midfield in the forlorn hope of influencing games.
The one moment that will remain in the memory was his sublime goal against Nigeria, where he controlled a cross-field ball with his thigh, showing incredible technique, before a deft second touch and pinpoint finish....