Ronaldo vs Messi – Analysis of their Stats & Achievements
Rivalries in sport have always captured the public’s imagination, from Federer and Nadal in tennis to Prost and Senna battling for F1 titles. But perhaps the most competitive, and argued over, the rivalry is still ongoing, is between footballing giants Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The Spanish Cauldron
While the two players are no longer stars of rival teams Barcelona and Real Madrid (as they were for just under a decade) the fervent atmosphere of La Liga was what really made the comparison between the two catch fire.
La Liga is one of the most popular leagues in the world and from 2009 to 2018 when Ronaldo was at Real Madrid (Messi played from 2004 to 2021 for Barcelona) the two met regularly in El Clásico. This clash between the two clubs is one of the biggest in global football and only added to the personal rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi.
While both men have moved on, with Messi going to PSG for a tidy sum and Ronaldo transferring first to Juventus and then to Manchester United (for the second time), La Liga and El Clásico formed the foundation of this epic rivalry.
Betting on Success
The fierce rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi embodies the passion many sports fans feel about football, which is why so many also enjoy betting on the sport to see if they can use their predictive powers to finish ahead. In addition, plenty of sportsbooks also offers casino games that can be played when football isn’t on.
The UK’s best casino brands are engaged in a rivalry of their own, which means they offer the UK best no deposit bonuses in a bid to outdo one another attracting players. The advantage for bettors is that these promotions enable the chance to try and win real cash with no risk of losing out if you happen to be unlucky.
Champions League Stats
The Champions League is the apex of club football in Europe, so it’s no surprise to find that both men have had plenty of action here.
But on the Champions League stage, Ronaldo has the edge, bettering not only Messi but (at the time of writing) every other footballer in the world too. Five times has Ronaldo won the Champions League, one more than Messi’s four.
And on a personal level, he also holds a plethora of records, including most appearances (183), most Champions League goals (140), and more assists (42) than anybody else.
A quartet of Champions League triumphs for Messi is not a bad record by any stretch of the imagination but does lag behind his rival. And he does hold the record for most hat tricks (8) in the tournament.
When it comes to goals in the competition, Messi stands on 125 (15 behind Ronaldo). In this area, it’s a clear advantage for Ronaldo in goals and tournament victories.
It remains to be seen how many more appearances the two men will make in the Champions League, as both appear to be past their prime with Messi even getting booed by PSG fans.
La Liga Comparison
Before getting to the number-crunching it’s worth noting that Ronaldo has moved around a lot more than Messi, and while he spent from 2009 to 2018 with Real Madrid this is about half the time (2004 to 2021) Messi spent at Barcelona. Because of this, it’s unsurprising that the Argentine has more records here than the Portuguese.
Messi is the all-time leading goal scorer in La Liga with 474 to his name. On top of that, he has the record for most goals in any season not only in La Liga but for any comparable European league with 50 in one season.
Once again, he’s the man with most hat tricks in La Liga (36), most assists (192), and most assists in a single season (21). While with Barcelona, Messi made several records including 35 trophies, of which 10 were La Liga titles.
Ronaldo himself has won only two La Liga titles which, even given his time in the league (about half that of Messi) does make the Argentine relatively better here.
He scored 311 goals for Real Madrid, which is lower than Messi’s by some distance but accounting for the shorter time span is more per season.
In addition, it exceeds his number of appearances for Real Madrid (292) whereas Messi’s 474 goals are slightly lower than his 520 appearance count, meaning Ronaldo has a better average per match. If you’re going by raw totals and La Liga titles then Messi’s top dog here, but if you prefer averages then Ronaldo is ahead on goals (though still lags on La Liga titles proportional to seasons played).
Awards and Money
The Ballon d’Or is hotly contested and it’s no surprise our two players have plenty between them. Messi has won it more times than anybody else with seven, while Ronaldo has won it on ‘only’ five occasions. Messi’s also got a record six European Golden Shoes to his name, Ronaldo once more two behind having won the award four times.
In 2020, Messi was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year. This was a double first, as it had never before been awarded to a player of a team sport, and no footballer had ever been given it.
At various times both men have been named by Forbes as the highest-paid athlete in the world (Messi in 2019 and Ronaldo in 2016 and 2017). Ronaldo also became the first footballer to earn more than US$1bn during his career, with Messi breaking through that threshold just a little later in 2020.
Career Totals and Trophies
Messi is a couple of years younger than Ronaldo (the former was born in 1987, the latter in 1985) and this is reflected in their senior careers with Ronaldo’s kicking off in 2002 and Messi’s in 2004 (discounting some time with Barcelona’s youth team).
As already mentioned, Messi has won La Liga on 10 occasions and has also won seven Copa del Reys, seven Supercopa de España, four Champions League tournaments, the UEFA Super Cup three times, and the FIFA Club World Cup three times, while playing for Barcelona.
Since his shift in 2021 to PSG, Messi’s won the Ligue 1 title. And, playing for his country, the Argentine has come off second best in the 2014 World Cup and won the 2021 Copa América.
Ronaldo won the 2002 Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira playing for Sporting CP, but his move to Manchester United enabled him to win much more silverware.
While with the English side he won the Premier League thrice, the FA Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, and the Champions League. During his Real Madrid years the Portuguese took the domestic title twice, the Copa del Rey twice, the FIFA Club World Cup thrice, and won the Champions League on four occasions.
Ronaldo was only with Juventus for a few years but still won a lot, including two Serie A titles, the Coppa Italia, and (twice), the Supercoppa Italiana. On the national stage, he helped Portugal to win the 2016 UEFA European Championship. In total, he’s won 32 trophies in his career (Messi won 35 with Barcelona alone).
Football fans around the world have been spoilt with this rivalry of the ages, and some still dream of having both Messi and Ronaldo on the same team. Whether
this will happen in the latter years of their careers remains to be seen, but it’s a nice thought.
And that just about covers the goals, rewards, records, and smorgasbord of stats involving arch-rivals Ronaldo and Messi.