Every major professional sport has superstar rivalries, yet we’ve all heard the debate over the last decade: Who is better, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
Arguably the two greatest players, not only of this generation but of all time, the comparison between Messi and Ronaldo perpetuated for years. There are arguments to be made for both players.
Let’s start with Messi — a five-time Ballon d’Or recipient who is widely considered to be the greatest talent to ever play the sport. The Argentinian, who made his professional debut at the age of 17, is not only a prolific goal scorer but also an elite playmaker. Messi holds the record for most goals in a single La Liga season with 50. He’s netted more than 500 senior career goals for both club and country.
Much of Messi’s success has come in Champions League action as the star has won Europe’s top club prize four times during his illustrious career.
While Messi is a likeable athlete, Ronaldo’s polarizing reputation makes the star striker a figure you either love or hate. There’s really no in between when talking about the Portuguese footballer.
Much like Messi, Ronaldo found success at an early age — beginning his senior club career at the age of 18 with Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon. In 2003, Ronaldo went on to join Manchester United where he helped the Red Devils win three consecutive Premier League titles and a Champions League crown.
Breaking down their 2017 stats, Messi holds the advantage with 43 total goals, excluding international competitions. Twenty-seven of those tallies have come in La Liga action. In comparison, Ronaldo has netted 26 total goals — down from a season ago when he scored 51 overall. Ronaldo has three hat tricks in 2017, one more than his La Liga rival.
Both players were missing a major international trophy on their resume until 2016 when Ronaldo helped Portugal capture the European Championship. Messi guided Argentina to the 2014 World Cup but fell short against Germany.
So who would you rather have on your team, Messi or Ronaldo?
Both superstar forwards are game changers that can impact any match with one strike of the ball.
When comparing all-time stats, Ronaldo’s 584 total goals at club and international level edge Messi’s 554. However Ronaldo has played in 150 appearances more than Messi.
If you’re putting your money down on the Champions League, place your wagers on Messi, who has 94 goals in 113 European matches.
Messi is considered the greatest player of all time for a reason and his club accomplishments prove that. Ronaldo is an impressive talent in his own right, but Messi is the player to put your money on with confidence, regardless of the situation.