messi vs ronaldo
The issue of which player is the greatest of all time continues to be a matter of serious debate on five-a-side pitches and barstools around the world.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi – Who is the GOAT? ‘Diego Maradona or Pele?’ Controversy
The question of who is better between the Portuguese phenomenon and imperial Argentina has dominated the minds of football fans everywhere for the past decade and will continue to do so.
Club and national loyalties can decide this, while personalities also play a role in how good a player is perceived to be, and most people know who they’ll pick.
So who is really the greatest of all time? No matter who you prefer, GOAL takes a look at how the pair actually go head-to-head so you can be fully armed with facts on the eternal argument.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Club goals
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Season||Lionel Messi|
Ronaldo has scored more club goals than Messi, but only and it should be noted that the Manchester United star has so far benefited from playing two more seasons than his Argentine nemesis.
Each of them has scored a remarkable 680+ club goals so far in their careers, with the five seasons between 2009-10 and 2014-15 proving particularly golden as they pushed each other to greater heights.
Although Ronaldo currently has more goals overall, Messi leads the scoring department, averaging a higher season (37.9 to 35), hitting a peak of 73 goals in 2011–12, although his average dropped after a disappointing first campaign. PSG in 2021-22.
Ronaldo’s highest season return was 61, which he achieved in 2014–15, and he surpassed the 50-goal mark in every season for six years between 2010–11 and 2015–16.
Interestingly, while Ronaldo’s seasonal tally has dipped slightly in recent years – he failed to break the 30-goal mark in 2018-19 in his first season at Juventus – Messi’s has remained consistent, although the Argentine’s rate has dropped since joining PSG.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Club assists
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Season||Lionel Messi|
When it comes to assists, Messi is far superior to Ronaldo and that contrast has become increasingly stark as their respective roles have evolved.
The number of goals Messi creates as well as scoring them is a major factor in deciding which player is the GOAT and while Ronaldo chips in with his fair share, the difference in this particular area is stark.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Champions League stats
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Champions League stat||Lionel Messi|
|0.77||Goals per game||0.8|
Ronaldo is the all-time top goalscorer in the Champions League, especially in competition with Manchester United and Real Madrid.
However, Messi isn’t far behind and actually has a fractionally better goals-per-game ratio, so there’s a good chance he’ll overtake Man United if the competition continues to shine.
Ronaldo also holds the record for most appearances in the Champions League, surpassing Iker Casillas.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: World Cup stats
|Cristiano Ronaldo||World Cup stat||Lionel Messi|
|0.4||Goals per game||0.3|
When it comes to the World Cup, Ronaldo and Messi are considered underperformers due to the simple fact that neither has won the competition.
Portugal star Ronaldo has scored more goals in the tournament and made fewer appearances, but Messi can claim to have gone the furthest since he reached the final with Argentina in 2014. The PSG attacker won the Ballon d’Or during that tournament, despite missing the final game. Glory to Germany.
The furthest Ronaldo reached the Selecao was in the semi-finals with Portugal in 2006, when they were beaten by France before losing in the third-place play-off against Germany.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: International stats
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Stat||Lionel Messi|
|0.62||Goals per game||0.5|
Ronaldo and Messi have similar records at international level, although Ronaldo boasts the higher number, as his senior Portugal career began with Argentina two years before Messi.
Ronaldo equaled Ali Dai’s record of 109 international goals at Euro 2020 and then surpassed it with two goals against the Republic of Ireland, becoming the all-time top international goalscorer.
Messi lags far behind Ronaldo in that regard, although he is by some distance Argentina’s all-time top goalscorer, surpassing the great Gabriel Batistuta a few years back.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Titles
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Competition||Lionel Messi|
|1||European Championship / Copa America||1|
|4||Club World Cup||3|
Messi and Ronaldo’s trophy haul is very similar, but with Barcelona winning La Liga 10 times, Messi edges things out in terms of league titles. Ronaldo has seven league titles, but unlike Messi, he can claim to have won the league in three different countries (England, Spain and Italy) – which in the eyes of some enhances his claim to the GOAT crown.
Ronaldo has an edge over Messi in the Champions League, with his love affair with the competition earning him the title ‘Mr Champions League’. The Manchester United star enjoyed significant success on the international stage with Portugal, winning the European Championship and the UEFA Nations League.
Messi, on the other hand, has suffered enough with Argentina, with four unsuccessful Copa America campaigns, three of which they lost in the final. He finally got his hands on the Copa in 2021 before going on to win the 2022 Finalsima. Although neither has won the World Cup, Messi has an Olympic gold medal.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Individual awards
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Award||Lionel Messi|
|2||The Best FIFA Men’s Player||1|
|4||European Golden Shoe||6|
|0||World Cup Golden Ball||1|
|4||UEFA Player of the Year||3|
|14||FIFPro World XI||14|
|4||Player of the Year (league)||6|
The personal battle between Ronaldo and Messi has been the defining feature of modern football for the past decade.
Messi surpassed Ronaldo in Ballon d’Or wins when he won his sixth in 2019 and cemented his superior status in that field with his seventh in 2021.
Ronaldo boasts FIFA’s new ‘The Best’ award and has been crowned UEFA Player of the Year on numerous other occasions, but Messi has won more League Player of the Year awards. Of course, it must be said that Ronaldo won the player of the year award in England, Spain and Italy.
Messi has won the European Golden Shoe a record six times, two more than Ronaldo, and slightly ahead of his rival overall, but the 14 times both have been in FIFPro World XIs is illustrative. Closely fought.