Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi: The eternal rivalry


Age is just a number, with the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristano Ronaldo proof of that.

For two of the leading stars of the beautiful game, the only number that matter are the ones they record every weekend when they are scoring for their respective clubs.

All their titles

The latest record set by one of these two legends came in the form of Messi’s five goals against Estonia while playing for the Argentine national team last Sunday.

Goals at the club level

Never one to sit around and simply watch, Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t miss out on the opportunity to score twice in Portugal’s victory over Switzerland in the Nations League.

With his brace, the Portuguese now has 117 goals in 188 international matches for his national team, extending his lead over the previous all-time mark held by Iran’s Ali Daei, who scored 109 goals for his national team in 2021.

Goals per competition

Both players ended the campaign with their lowest goalscoring tallies in years. In Messi’s case, he scored 11 goals for Paris Saint-Germain, his worst output since the 2005/06 season when he scored eight.

It comes as no surprise that Leo has scored more goals (14) with Argentina than PSG this year, the first time he’s scored more goals for his national team than club. Although that may come as a bit of a shock, Messi did manage to provide 15 assists for the French giants, which somewhat makes up for his poor scoring output.

As for Cristiano, he scored 24 goals, his lowest figure since scoring 23 in 2006/07.

Still in the mix

While age is part of the reason for their low scoring figures, moves to new clubs likely also played a factor, as PSG and Manchester United both failed to meet expectations.

While PSG managed to win yet another Ligue 1 title, being eliminated by Real Madrid in the Champions League saw the French side fall short once again. As for Cristiano, United failed to even qualify for next year’s Champions League after finishing sixth in the Premier League, while they were dumped from Europe by Atletico Madrid.

Nevertheless, both have similar goalscoring records at club level. Messi has 682 goals between Barcelona and PSG, while Cristiano Ronaldo has 699 between Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.

The scales tip in Ronaldo’s favour at the national team level, as he has 19 more goals, though it must be noted he’s scored 40 more goas from the penalty spot than Messi.

In terms of single-match scoring outputs, Ronaldo used to hold the edge (two to one) in terms of five-goal games, though Messi levelled that tally with his recent performance against Estonia.

The never-ending comparison

In terms of team trophies, Messi holds the edge 40 to 34, with the PSG man adding to his resume with the Ligue 1 title and Argentina’s Finalissima win over Italy.

The difference when it comes to individual honours is even smaller, but still favours Messi (30 to 26).

Both men will no doubt look to add to their cabinets at the upcoming World Cup in Qatar in what may be their final opportunities to take home major hardware for their respective national teams.



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