What is an age-old debate that has consumed football internet forums and pub table discussions for over a decade? Yes, you guessed it right, it is – who is better, Messi or Ronaldo?
Whether you’re a diehard Messi fan or a Ronaldo supporter, there’s no denying that these two players have redefined the football game with their genius. They are the only two players to have netted over 800 goals for their club and country. But who among them truly wears the crown?
Get ready to dive into the fascinating careers of these two, known as the GOAT of football as we study their skills, stats, defining moments, and profound impact on the sport. This discussion aims to celebrate their contributions to the game rather than ignite rivalry.Â
So, shall we?
Ronaldo vs Messi: Player Profiles
Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are two names that have dominated the world of football in the last decade. Let’s analyse their player profiles and discover the key factors that make them the best footballers of our era.
Lionel Messi Player Profile
Full Name: Lionel AndrÃ©s Messi Cuccitini
Date of Birth: June 24, 1987 (36 years)
Player Position: Attacking Midfielder, Forward
Messi’s Career Goals: 821 goals in 1044 matches
Record: Scoring the most goals for the Argentine national team, with a total of 104 goals in 176 games
Lionel Messi, the Argentine soccer player, has had an impressive career spanning over 20 years. In fact, he started playing when he was only 16 years old. He spent most of his career with FC Barcelona, and during this time, he played a significant role in securing 4 UEFA Champions League and 10 La Liga victories for the team. In 2021, Messi moved on to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for two seasons before joining Inter Miami in the Major League Soccer (MLS). His contribution was crucial in helping Inter Miami win the 2023 MLS Leagues Cup.
On the international stage, Messi led Argentina to triumph in the 2021 Copa America and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He scored some incredible goals during the Copa America. Some of his career highlights include playing his 1,000th game, netting 7 goals at the 2022 World Cup, and winning the Best FIFA Men’s Player award twice. As of 2023, Messi is a strong contender for his eighth Ballon d’Or.
Christiano Ronaldo Player Profile
Full Name: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro
Date of Birth: Feb 5, 1985 (38 years)
Player Position: Forward
Ronaldo Career Goals: 859 goals in 1188 matches
Record: All-time leading goal scorer in men’s international football
Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has played for Manchester United, Sporting Lisbon, Juventus, and Real Madrid in a career spanning almost 20 years. Like Messi, he also started playing at a very young age (almost 17). By 18, he was already a part of the Manchester United. He is among the ones to have won 5 UEFA Champions League titles and league championships in Spain, Italy, and England. He is also the first male player to score in five different FIFA World Cup tournaments. If that wasn’t enough to showcase his legendary status, he is also a five-time recipient of the Ballon d’Or award.
Quite recently (on December 20, 2022), he was signed by Al Nassr to join the team for a whopping â¬200 million per year, making him one of the highest-paid footballers ever. This move boosted the Saudi Pro League’s popularity within the country and grabbed attention worldwide. After Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr, several renowned European players like Karim Benzema, N’Golo KantÃ©, Riyad Mahrez, Roberto Firmino, and Neymar followed suit. They decided to join the league during the summer transfer window.
Ronaldo vs Messi: A Detailed Comparison
Ronaldo vs Messi Trophies & Championships
In professional sports, a player’s collection of trophies and championship titles is a meaningful measure of their skill and prowess on the field. If we look at Ronaldo vs Messi’s trophies and championships, Messi has won a total of 44, including 35 that he won while playing for Barcelona. On the other hand, Ronaldo has won 36 total championships, including 3 for Portugal and others for the various clubs he has played for over the years.
Here’s an overview of Ronaldo vs Messi trophies and championships –
|7||Copas del Ray||2|
|8||Spanish Super Cups||2|
|4||UEFA Champions Leagues||4|
|3||European Super Cups||3|
|3||FIFA World Club Championships||4|
|1||French Super Cup||–|
|–||Arab Club Champions Club||1|
From this comparison, Messi clearly comes out on top.
Awards & World Records
To decide who is better, Messi or Ronaldo, we will take it one step further. Let’s compare the records, honours, and awards won by the two. Regarding individual awards, Messi maintains his lead with 15, surpassing Ronaldo’s 13. In the highly esteemed FIFA Player of the Year category, also known as the ‘EU BALLON DâOR,’ Messi has been honoured 5 times throughout his career, with Ronaldo winning the award 3 times. In terms of football records, Messi has an impressive tally of 15 world records, slightly ahead of Ronaldo’s 13.
Here’s an individual breakup of their honours, awards, and records –
|Christiano Ronaldo||Lionel Messi (with Argentina)|
|UEFA European Championship Title (2016)||FIFA Under-20 World Cup (2005)|
|UEFA Nations League Title (2019)||Olympic Gold Medal (2008)|
|Euro 2020 Golden Boot Winner (2020)||Copa America Winner and Golden Boot Winner (2021)|
|Top scorer in men’s international football (123 goals)||Finalissima (2022)|
|Men’s Total International Appearances (200)||FIFA World Cup (2022)|
|Top scorer in European Championship History (14 goals in 25 matches)||Top-scorer of all time for Argentina (103 goals)|
|Most appearances in the World Cup (26)|
|Most appearances for Argentina (175)|
Breakup of Ballon d’Or Wins –
|Player||Ballon d’Or Wins|
|Christiano Ronaldo (5 wins)||2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017|
|Lionel Messi (7 wins)||2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021|
European Golden Shoe Awards –
|Player||Golden Shoe Awards|
|Christiano Ronaldo (6 wins)||2007-08: 31 goals; 2010-11: 40 goals; 2013-14: 31 goals (shared with Luis Suarez); 2014-15: 48 goals|
|Lionel Messi (4 wins)||2009-10: 34 goals; 2011-12: 50 goals; 2012-13: 46 goals; 2016-17: 37 goals; 2017-18: 34 goals; 2018-19: 36 goals|
Age & Length of Career
Messi, ahead in most of the stats covered above, has also been in the league 3 years longer than Ronaldo and is 2 years older. Many think that barring injury, Ronaldo will have a few years to catch up to Messi. He should play a few years more, given his age. Even so, Ronaldo’s career goals are more than Messi’s career goals, at 860 goals against Messi’s 821.
Social Media and Demographic Brand Reach
Regarding global brand awareness and social media followings, the much more socially active Ronaldo trumps Messi. Overall, Messi has a total social media following of 167.5 million fans worldwide. Ronaldo has a worldwide social media following of 284.5 million.
On Instagram, for instance, Lionel Messi has a total of 489 million followers, while Christiano Ronaldo has around 609 million.
Ronaldo is one of the most popular people on earth. To put his immense following into perspective, Ronaldo has more followers than Lebron James, Stephen Curry, and Kobe Bryant combined. These three NBA superstars are the biggest brands in professional basketball. Ronaldo also has more followers than 99% of the NFL combined, proving he is a global athletics ambassador.
Furthermore, 92% of all humans know who Ronaldo is compared to 87% knowing who Messi is.
Ronaldo vs Messi Match: Playing head-to-head
In head-to-head match-ups, the two superstars have played each other a total of 32 times in their careers. They have tied 8 of those matches, and Ronaldo has won 9, while Messi has won 15. Messi has also scored more goals in those matches, with 17 in total, compared to 15 for Ronaldo. Messi again is the clear leader in terms of assists, as he has nearly 2 assists to each 1 of Ronaldoâs.
So, in the Ronaldo vs Messi match (head-to-head) category, Messi comes out on top.
Final Word: Who is the GOAT of Football?
That brings us to the end of our exploration of the GOAT of football. Regardless of what side of the debate you choose, the facts show Messi to be the better player in terms of raw numbers. That being said, Ronaldo, who is younger, can catch up to him if he can overcome his knee injury.
Furthermore, Ronaldo also leads in brand visibility and influence. The contest is too close to call, and the debate will likely continue for years to come.
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