Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi, this is one debate that has been doing the rounds since last many years and the fact of the matter is, both are literally one of the all time greats, due to their divergent approach both on-field and off-field.
While Ronaldo’s recent hat-trick against Atletico Madrid ensured that Real have an upper hand going into the second leg of Champions League semi-finals, it was Lionel Messi who proved to be the better man during the El Clasico a week ago. This year, both of them have achieved new heights, when it comes to their respective record tally, and this has again fired up the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate.
From 500 Barcelona goals to being the first man to score 100 European and Champions League goals, the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate has gone to new heights, regularly prompting fans to go crazy over finding the ultimate superstar.
Meanwhile, there is one area where you can put them head-to-head and that is the Champions League. The European cup is their true test for which, they save their best. However, Barcelona was recently knocked out after suffering an aggregate defeat against Juventus by 3-0, while Real Madrid continues their campaign for the ultimate glory. But, as for the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate, we have some stats that can let to decide the better footballer here.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 103 Champions League goals in 138 games while Lionel Messi has 94 in 115, both of which are incredible stats.
2. When it comes to minutes per goal, Ronaldo takes 116 minutes for scoring a goal and Messi has a better scoring rate of 101 minutes per goal.
3. Minutes Per Assist: This is where the Real Madrid front man has a better rate of 362 minutes per assist while Messi has taken 381 minutes for each of the assists, on an average.
4. Importance of Goals: Here, goals scored in the knockout stages have more value than the ones scored in group stages and Ronaldo has emerged as the better big game player.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 50.5% in knockout stages
Lionel Messi: 39.4 % in knockout stages
5. Variety of Goals: This is where the all-rounder capabilities are tested and to achieve ultimate greatness, one needs to be able to score a variety of goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Header-17.5%, Left Footed-14.5% and Right Footed-68%
Lionel Messi: Header-4.3%, Left Footed-80.9% and Right Footed-14.8%
Barcelona might have been shouting their hearts out but we still have to consider the ‘Penaldo’ factor here. This is the name given to Cristiano Ronaldo by the Catalans supporters as many of his goals have come from penalty strikes.
6. So, to be fair, here the stats including free-kicks, penalties, and open play.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 77.7% of the goals came from open play while 22.3% were set pieces
Lionel Messi: 86.2% goals were scored during an open play and only 13.8% came from set pieces.
This clearly shows Messi’s ability to pierce through opposition’s line of defense and can take the ball from his team’s area to the opposition’s box.
7. Stand Out Seasons: Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been the top scorers in Champions League, five times each but it’s the number of goals that reflect Ronaldo being the most consistent one. When you look at their respective best seasons, Lionel Messi scored 14 goals in 11 appearances in 2011/12 while Cristiano Ronaldo bettered the latter’s best not once but twice.
Ronaldo scored 16 times in 12 games in 2015/16 season and also netted an astonishing 17 goals in 11 appearances back in 2013/14.
8. Champions League Trophies: While Lionel Messi has helped Barcelona to 4 Champions League titles while Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking forward to leveling the tally on 3rd June 2017 as he currently stands second with 3 titles.
While all these stats give us an insight for the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate and who is better, they also show that one emerges better than the other when we enter the in-depth analysis.
However, these two are the best footballers on Earth so far and they are pushing each other to new levels of ridiculousness to be universally acknowledged as the undefeated/undisputed No1.
Moreover, after a decade of footballing dominance from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, they have so many feathers in their caps and choosing between them is nigh on impossible. So it is important to stop this Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate and appreciate the brilliance.
One thing is for sure, when their respective careers inevitably come to an end, both will be leaving the game as the greatest ever footballer and will be remembered as two of the best performers to ever have kicked a football.