One of the most hotly contested comparisons between the two most talented players in football today is decided once and for all. There is no doubt that the winners of the last eight, yes EIGHT, Ballon d’Or awards have earned the respect and recognition as the world’s best football player in their own right. Now head-to-head, comparing statistics from their best and worst seasons we show you at least 10 reasons CR7 dominates the sport and his rival Leo.
1. Goal scoring awards
Since joining Real Madrid in 2009, Christiano Ronaldo has the award for fastest player to score 50, 100, and 200 goals in La Liga.
Even though Messi is four goals shy of the 300 mark, he has been in the Spanish league for 5 more years.
2. Free Kicks
The unique way in which Ronaldo strikes a dead ball, produces some of the best goals on the highlight reel. Translating to 41 goals from free kicks and penalties.
Messi will have to put in a lot of time on the training pitch to get his tally of 15 up to Ronaldo’s impressive rate.
3. Goals to Game Ratio; CR7 = 0.97, Leo = 0.82
At the time of writing, Christiano has 28 appearances and 27 goals in all competitions this season and almost has a goal per game. In football terms this defines the indefensible. How do you stop a man who can almost guarantee to score against you every time?
While Messi’s record is not to be scoffed at, in the 5 fewer games he’s played in this season he has eight fewer goals. This number is even more impressive when we learned that they each scored these goals in 13 games.
4. Club level scoring consistency
The first football player to score against every team in the Spanish League did it in less than four seasons. The same cannot be said for Little Leo who had already been in the La Liga top flight for eight. Playing in England is said to be one of the fastest leagues in Europe.
Having experienced that and dominated scoring records in Manchester, Ronaldo brought that to Madrid and displayed a consistent, effective scoring method with his speed and natural ability in each of his career seasons since then. Messi’s scoring numbers, are nonetheless incredible, are not displayed as equally or in form consistency.
5. International scoring consistency
Again, Ronaldo’s statistics and dominance is showcased at the international level for Portugal. He has 55 goals for his country…
While Messi as part of an Argentinean team has six less.
6. Shots on target
When it comes to shots on target to goals converted, Messi has the edge. The Barcelona star will produce more goals per effort than Ronaldo across all competitions.
Consider that Ronaldo will hit the target or produce more assists from his shots not including intended passes, then you have a closer race. Christiano’s relentless attack on net provides more shots on target and more rebound opportunities in all aspects.
Standing at 6’ 2” tall, Ronaldo has the overall strength, height, and speed necessary to beat defenders in the air as well as through running plays.
Messi can dazzle the opposition with his dribbling and start-stop runs, but has never really tested anyone for a header on goal or for 50/50 balls played high.
Christiano has played in the world club world cups for two teams with entirely different styles. Messi has grown through the ranks at Barcelona as a teenager to the senior squad; it has never looked like Leo would consider playing for another club. This makes his style and his overall player adaptability very hard to judge. To the heights that a football player can go with a club, Ronaldo has done it twice, with Manchester United in 2008 and again with Real Madrid in 2014. In a team sport, a player must be constantly aware and in tune with his teammates and be able to make plays based on their styles.
In that sense and with the cups to prove it, Ronaldo has proven himself to be a crucial member in both teams in two languages and two entirely different sets of players and styles. Messi, even though winning three cups, has only managed to do it with one team with one system.
While versatility says much about the player’s personality and the effect they can have in a game no matter who they are playing with or against, their value to another team can be bargained. Let’s all be honest with ourselves for a second, football is the greatest sport in the world but it is entertainment and therefore a very lucrative business. A team is part of an organization where the buying and selling of players to produce a super team to win everything is the aim of the bigger game. Who may be the wealthiest club with the best players and a fan base to pay billions per year across the globe is decided upon whether you have the capital to begin with. Messi is priceless.
Barcelona will never have the opportunity to cash in on Messi’s value as he is a member of that organization and cannot be sold to another club (theoretically). Ronaldo on the other hand has a cash value record set at $132 million dollars from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 and is said to have a buyout clause set at over $1 billion. Given that we are discussing who is better, the proof is only the best team can afford Ronaldo, and Barcelona have nothing to sell.
10. Wealth Responsibility
At the risk of sounding as if this is a personal attack on anyone, whether it is the player or his financial staff, Messi is currently under investigation for tax evasion in Spain. This fact speaks volumes about the other out-of-the-spotlight skills it takes to be successful sportsman. Ronaldo donates millions of dollars to charities and to his home town in Portugal, while also remembering to pay his dues.
At the end of it all we, the spectators and fans, are watching a fantastic rivalry in football. With two such prolific goal scorers and personalities, we have something to watch and to be entertained by. The stats stand for themselves and Ronaldo is the better of the two, Messi is brilliant in his own right but still only second best.