Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo saw their World Cup hopes shattered on Saturday as Argentina and Portugal tumbled out in the second round.
The pair have dominated global player of the year awards for the last decade, forging their own personal rivalry.
But on the biggest stage in world football neither man has lifted the trophy, with Messi going closest when Argentina reached the final four years ago.
Neither has scored in the knock-out stage of a World Cup either, with Ronaldo playing six games without hitting the net and Messi eight.
Ronaldo’s former Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand called them “The 2 Greats” as Barcelona star Messi and Real Madrid goal machine Ronaldo headed for home, arguing their elimination showed the value of team-mates.
Gary Lineker, who scored 10 goals in World Cups for England, beating the career hauls of both Messi and Ronaldo, said on Twitter that their failure to hit the heights of their prolific club achievements was “remarkable”.
BBC sports presenter Dan Walker suggested the emergence of brilliant French teenager Kylian Mbappe – whose two goals helped to kill off Argentina – might mean Messi and Ronaldo would not be missed quite so much.
And quiz show star Richard Osman had a novel idea for those missing Messi and Ronaldo – give them their own stage later in the tournament.
And breakfast TV host Piers Morgan scoffed at anyone taking satisfaction from the superstar pair bowing out, calling them “morons”.
Ronaldo, 33, and 31-year-old Messi could of course yet be back for Qatar 2022 and another attempt at World Cup glory.