The Qatar World Cup feels like a once-in-a-lifetime event because of two of the biggest players featuring in it. Regardless of their form and age, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are THE star attractions of Qatar 2022.
There is even more attention on what they do in the competition this time than it has been in the previous few editions they have featured as the proverbial leaders of Argentina and Portugal, respectively.
That is because the Qatar World Cup is expected to be their final World Cup.
Ronaldo is 37. As much as he keeps himself in top shape and aspires to play into his 40s, it’s unlikely that he’ll be part of the Portugal side if they can qualify for the 2026 World Cup.
Messi has already admitted that Qatar 2022 will be his final bow at the World Cup, as he does not want to keep playing football for as long as his great rival.
Messi and Ronaldo’s dominance in football has been so long and well-documented that it’s almost absurd to think about a future for the sport without them.
Be it the 90s generation or those born in the 21st century, there are millions of devoted fans for both players.
Cristiano is the most-followed player on Instagram with over 500 million followers.
Messi doesn’t have as many, but he is absolutely as popular as Ronaldo – at least among the football faithful. There are casual fans of both superstars and then there are those who treat them as gods.
One such duo of crazy supporters of Ronaldo and Leo reside in Croatia.
The Stojanovic brothers are die-hard supporters of Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as huge supporters of the two players as well.
In fact, they are such devotees of the two players that they have named their own sons after Ronaldo and Messi. Indeed, Zeljko Stojanovic – a Barcelona supporter – has named his son Lionel Messi Stojanovic.
You read that right! The Croatian is literally named after the PSG forward, with his surname, in the end, distinguishing him from him.
But that’s not it! Zeljko’s brother, who is a Real Madrid fan, has named his son Cristiano Ronaldo Stojanovic in homage to his idol.
Zelko has opened up on why they made this interesting decision, saying: “We simply support those clubs, me and my brother. When my wife became pregnant, I decided right away that I would name my son Leo Messi, my brother also decided Cristiano Ronaldo.”
The two live in Slavonski Brod in Croatia, which is near their border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ronaldo and Messi Stojanovic are Serbian by birth and aspire to play for their national team after growing up.
Predictable, Ronaldo Stojanovic aspires to be like his namesake after growing up and Messi wants to play like the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
While the one named after Cristiano is a better player in terms of technical ability, Leo Stojanovic boasts a superior shooting ability.
The one named after Messi claims that everyone says he’s the better player of the two. Cristiano Stojanovic also considers his cousin to be a ‘good friend’.
Of course, they play at a youth level for their school and local tournaments.
It’s no surprise when people are left shocked upon realizing their names and uncanny similarity to the world’s best footballers.
The ultimate dream of Lionel and Cristiano Stojanovic is to play for the Croatian national team. They want to represent the nation at the World Cup and ensure that everyone knows their unique names, as well as the story behind them.