Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi GOAT tussle is the biggest dilemma in football since the ‘Diego Maradona or Pele’ debate. While there’s no denying that the Juventus and Barcelona stars are amongst the greatest footballers in history of the sport, football fans around the world just can’t resist trying to work out who has the upper hand between the two. Their comparison extends beyond club level as the duo also lead their respective national sides and going by the envious stats and records the legends have set individually, the issue of which player is the greatest of all time will persist into the future.
While club and national loyalties can cloud judgement on the matter, however, on the occasion of Messi’s birthday, the ‘GOAT’ debate’ started again between his fans and the supporters of his biggest rival, Ronaldo. Here, we look at the stats between two talismanic forwards of the modern game.
The Portuguese star has played close to 150 more games (1013 games) than his Argentinian counterpart who has appeared in 867 games. It is also because Ronaldo started his career before Messi and is more than two years older than him. When it comes to goals, Ronaldo currently has leads with just two more goals (674) than Messi at 672. The Juventus forward has 762 goals to his name at present while Messi has 721 overall.
However, the Argentinian superstar has the edge in the scoring department, with a higher season average (39.5 to 35), having hit a high of 73 goals in 2011-12.Messi also tops the assists list and is much superior to Ronaldo in that category. He has 226 so far against 139 produced by the Portuguese star overall.
Both superstars have similar records at international level, Ronaldo boasts greater numbers, partly because his career with the senior Portugal side kicked off two years before Messi’s with Argentina. The Portuguese talisman has levelled with former Iranian striker Ali Daei’s 109 goalsin the ongoing EURO 2020 tournament. Meanwhile, Messi is a long way behind Ronaldo in that category, boasting 73 goals in 147 games for Argentina.
The duo are also considered underperformers when it comes to World Cups. Ronaldo fares a bit better with seven goals from 17 appearances, while Messi has six from 19 so far.
When it comes to titles, both have failed to win the Jules Rimet Trophy for their national side. However, Ronaldo has one European Championship title, while Messi has an Olympic title under hisleadership. Ronaldo also has five Champions league titles to his name with two different clubs,while Messi has four with Barcelona. The Portugal forward has won two titles with Portugal – the UEFA Nations League and the UEFA European Championships, which Messi is yet to achieve the feat.
The list is endless and exhaustive between the two modern-day greats and it is indeed difficult to choose the ultimate GOAT among them. On the basis of overall record, Messi does win the debate, but in terms of achievements and performances on the biggest of stages, it’s Ronaldo who leads currently.