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Messi vs. Ronaldo: The GOAT Debate Unveiled


Football  •  17 Feb, 2023  •  17,219 Views  •  ⭐ 2.0

Written by Shivani Chourasia


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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are widely regarded as two of the greatest of all-time players. Both of them have been proving themselves at the highest level for years. Since 2018, only two players have won the Ballon d'Or other than Messi and Ronaldo. Luka Modric won the award in 2018, and Karim Benzema won it in 2022. In fact, for ten consecutive years starting from 2008, it was either of the two who won the prestigious Ballon d'Or award.

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Ballon d'Or is awarded to the best player in the world. At the helm of their powers, they were considered unstoppable. Understandably, they had a very fierce yet professional rivalry throughout their careers, with both players showing mutual respect for each other. Let us discuss a few parameters on the basis of statistics and data analysis to help the fans determine who is the GOAT.

1.Individual Awards

Messi has a slight advantage on Individual awards, considering he has won the most Ballon d'Or in the history of Football. Here is a brief list of their awards:

Awards
Ballon d'Or (Messi 7, Ronaldo 5)
European Golden Boot (Messi 6, Ronaldo 4)
FIFA World Player of the Year (Messi 6, Ronaldo 5)
FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (Messi 2, Ronaldo 0)

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Looks like Messi has the advantage based on these numbers, isn't it?

2. Club Achievements

Both Ronaldo and Messi had the privilege of playing for the best teams in the world. They had extraordinary careers at the club level. It will be very hard to find players who had better club careers. Let’s check out their club career achievements.

Trophy
UEFA Champions League (Messi 4, Ronaldo 5)
League Titles (Messi 11, Ronaldo 7)
Domestic Cup (Messi 7, Ronaldo 6)
Domestic Super Cup (Messi 9, Ronaldo 7)
UEFA Super Cup (Messi 3, Ronaldo 3)
Club World Cup (Messi 3, Ronaldo 4)

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Again, Messi has the advantage. Although it’s still debatable as Ronaldo is one of the very few players who have won 5 UCLs.

3. All-time career stats

Although deployed at different positions, both of them have extraordinary goal-scoring records to their names.

Appearances (Messi 1010, Ronaldo 1149)
Assists (Messi 350, Ronaldo 234)
Goals (Messi 796, Ronaldo 824)

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Ronaldo averages 88 minutes per goal contribution whereas Messi averages just 72 minutes per goal contribution. We won’t be seeing this kind of number any time soon.

4. International Career

Both of them had a very rough start to their international career. The international trophy eluded them for a long time until Ronaldo won the Euros back in 2016. The sun shined on Messi after 5 years when Messi won the Copa America in 2021. Messi took a step further from his competitor when he won the World Cup in 2022, thereby cementing his legacy as the GOAT for a lot of pundits and football fans.

Appearances (Messi 172, Ronaldo 196)
Assists (Messi 53, Ronaldo 33)
Goals (Messi 98, Ronaldo 118)

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Trophies
World Cup (Messi 1, Ronaldo 0)
Continental Cup (Messi 1, Ronaldo 1)
Intercontinental Cup (Messi 1, Ronaldo 0)
Others (Messi 2, Ronaldo 1)

5. Statistics

Messi leads in Goal Contributions, Free kicks, Outside the box goals, key passes, big chances created etc. On the other hand, Ronaldo leads in Penalties, Hat tricks, Aerial Duels etc. We can go on and on about the outrageous stats these players hold.

Conclusion

Both Messi and Ronaldo have been at the helm of football affairs for more than a decade and gave the football fans immense joy. It’s a shame that we won’t get to enjoy them battling it out against each other on the pitch any time soon. Let’s just sit back and enjoy the greatness.

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