While Portugal and Argentina could potentially clash in the World Cup quarter-final, the battle between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is already underway in Kazan, where images of the stars have emerged next to a local hotel.
A huge mural depicting Messi appeared next to the Ramada Hotel in Kazan, where the Argentinian team are staying ahead of their last-16 clash against France, just meters away from a picture of Ronaldo that was painted last year.
Last summer, a three-floor-high mural featuring a winking Ronaldo was painted near the same hotel to welcome the Portugal team, who were based there for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Coincidentally, the same hotel was chosen by the Argentinian team, who were forced to make reservations there after their French counterparts booked the Mirage Hotel – the other one of the two residences in the city licensed for the World Cup.
Many jokes poured in on social media regarding Argentina’s unavoidable “pleasure” of looking at the winking Ronaldo from their hotel windows.
Adding fuel to the controversy, an unknown Ronaldo supporter challenged Messi by adding a phrase to the mural, which reads: “I scored 4 goals, can you beat that, Leo?”
To honor the Argentinian football star, a group of local street painters drew a six-meter-tall portrait of Messi on a building that stands next to the Ronaldo mural.