An AI artist has predicted what Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will look like in 2042, and while the results are fascinating, it’s making us feel old.

The footballing icons have been going at it for 15 years in a duel to prove who is the best of all time. On Thursday, they battled what could be one last time in Paris Saint-Germain’s 5-4 victory over Riyadh XI.

Both players got on the scoresheet, with Messi opening the scoring inside three minutes and Ronaldo netting a brace shortly after.

You get the feeling they could do this forever if their bodies let them. Time catches up with us all, however. Ronaldo turns 38 next month, while Messi is currently 35.

We’re struggling to imagine a world without Ronaldo and Messi playing football. Retirement doesn’t necessarily end their involvement in the sport, but it closes a magical chapter in its history.

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What if they decided to return as managers? Ronaldo did hint at stepping into coaching during an interview in 2019. He told ICON: “I’m not ruling it out.”

On the other hand, Messi’s plans for life after football are unknown. His deal with PSG is set to expire this summer and he was linked with a move to the MLS.

It’s believed Messi will extend his contract with PSG for another year as he looks to win his first Champions.

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The AI versions of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. (Image Credit: Alper Yesiltas/Instagram)

In 2042, Ronaldo will be 56-years-old. Messi will be 54. They don’t look too shabby at all.

Messi looks to have ditched the beard for good, while both men have started to see their hair turn grey. Only natural at that age.

The attire they’re both dressed in is… rather interesting. Ronaldo’s outfit is more suited to Messi and vice versa. We can all see Ronaldo rocking a black shirt with the collar popped, can’t we?

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Both men shared messages on social media following their clash on Thursday. It was Ronaldo’s first game in Saudi Arabia since penning a mega-money contract with Al Nassr earlier this month.

Ronaldo and Messi are approaching the end of their respective careers. (Image Credit: Alamy)

He said: “So happy to be back on the pitch, and on the score sheet!! And nice to see some old friends!”

Among the images shared were Ronaldo hugging Messi. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner returned the favour shortly after. He shared a video of the duo hugging to his Instagram story.

We’re never going to get a rivalry like this again. Let’s treasure it while we can.

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