In football conversations usually arises the discussion over who is better… if Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Any Google search yields hundreds of results on “Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo” or “Cristiano Ronaldo vs Messi”. Assuming that we will always make a subjective analysis, based on our personal preferences, I have made this comparison, as a statistic, rigorous and totally objective analysis, in which I will confront their individual and collective achievements. I have incorporated an aspect that many people apply: the comparison of the two since Cristiano Ronaldo plays for Real Madrid.
Messi vs Cristiano in their entire careers
In the whole of their careers we see several things: First, contrary to what many people think, Messi’s scoring average is higher than Cristiano Ronaldo’s. Just look at the number of games played by both, and how close they are in goals scored. Moreover, it is noteworthy that having played two seasons less, Messi has provided more assists to his teammates than Cristiano Ronaldo. Finally, we must emphasize Cristiano Ronaldo’s scoring average in Real Madrid, more than one goal per game, much higher than his career average.
How do they score?
We can see that Messi scores mostly with his left foot, using his “bad leg” in around 1 of every 7 goals. His headed goals are less common because of his height.
Cristiano scores mostly (5 from every 7 goals) with his right foot. He makes around 1 of every 7 goals with his left foot and 1 from every 7 with his head.
Type of goal
Regarding the types of goals they scored we see that, despite having fewer goals than Cristiano, Messi has scored more times in open play while Cristiano has best records in set pieces both from the penalty spot and free kicks.
Where do they score?
Messi scores a slightly higher percentage of goals than Cristiano away from home and on neutral ground, while Cristiano scores a few more goals at home, although the percentages of both are quite similar in this respect.
Messi vs Cristiano only in their clubs
If we limit the sample to club matches, we note that the trend is maintained, with Messi with a higher scoring average and a more assists than Cristiano.
Messi vs Cristiano only in their national teams
If instead we focus on their performances with their national teams, we note again that Messi’s scoring average is higher than Cristiano’s as well as the number of assists given.
Messi vs Cristiano in La Liga
Since Cristiano reached the Spanish League, the duel between the two players became completely spectacular. Both maintain, during these 7 seasons, an average of more than 1 goal per game. In the global, Messi has scored more goals than Cristiano in these seven years, although playing a few more games, and has also given more assists.
Messi vs Cristiano in Champions League
Focusing only on the Champions League, we have to highlight the goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, absolute record of the competition, but to do so he has played many more games than Messi. Curiously, the Champions League is the only competition in which Cristiano has given more assists than Messi.
Noting only the data of the Champions League since Cristiano plays for Real Madrid, we can see that this is definitely his favorite competition. In the last 7 years he has made more goals and more assists than Messi in this competition, although he has not been lucky enough to lift more trophies.
Messi vs Cristiano en la Copa del Rey
Messi vs Cristiano en la Supercopa de España
Messi vs Cristiano en la Supercopa de Europa
Messi vs Cristiano en el Mundialito (Mundial de Clubes)
Messi vs Cristiano en los Mundiales
Messi vs Cristiano en Eurocopa/Copa América
El Clásico: Real Madrid vs Football Club Barcelona
Leo Messi currently holds the record of goals in “El Clasico” with 21. The ratio of goals per game of Messi is superior to Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as assists per game. Messi also outperforms Cristiano if we consider the number of minutes they need to score or assist.
In direct confrontations, ie, Clasicos in which they have faced, they have exactly the same rate of goals per game, although Messi stands out especially as an assistant. In the number of minutes they need to score their goals, Cristiano Messi leads slightly (by 1 minute 40 seconds). If we compute the average influence (goals + assists) we see that Messi beats Cristiano generating a goal every Clasico played (88 minutes 55 seconds), while Cristiano needs about one Clasico and a half (131 minutes and 49 seconds).
In this period we have also faced in 6 knockout stages:
Real Madrid managed to defeat FC Barcelona in Copa del Rey Final 2010/2011, Spanish Supercup Final 2012/2013, and Copa del Rey Semifinals 2012/2013. Also in Copa del Rey Final 2013/2014, but Cristiano Ronaldo did not play that game because of a small hamstring injury in the femoral biceps of his left leg.
Barcelona managed to beat Madrid in Champions League 2010/2011 Semifinals, Spanish Supercup Final 2011/2012, and Copa del Rey quarter finals 2011/2012.