The classic ‘who is better’ debate has never been more pertinent and as accessible as it currently is in modern society.
Social media is a minefield for so called experts of the game, all chiming in with their opinions and beliefs as to who is the better player, team, or manager.
Whilst some debates across sport are fleeting, some are in ingrained into modern day culture.
Whether it be Federer or Nadal in the world of tennis, Schumacher or Hamilton in the cut and thrust of Formula 1 or Woods or Nicklaus in the great pantheon of golfers, the debate as to ‘who is better’ is often heated and passionate.
Soccer comparison rivalries tend to centre around which teams are better, through the ages but in recent times one rivalry has filled column inches the world over.
Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo – who is better?
Messi – 683 in 812 matches
Ronaldo – 698 in 929 matches
With 1381 professional club goals scored between them, there is no disputing that Messi and Ronaldo have shaped the modern day generation of soccer players.
For Messi, the predominance of his goals have come for his boyhood club Barcelona before he moved to Paris Saint Germain in August 2021.
Ronaldo meanwhile has plied his trade further afield, with superb goal scoring ratios for Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.
Just one look at the goals per game ratio between the two players, is an indicator of why this rivalry exists and there is very little to split them.
Messi – 86 in 161 matches
Ronaldo – 115 in 186 matches
Representing ones country is often seen as the ultimate test in soccer and both Messi and Ronaldo have spearheaded their nation’s attacks for over 15 years.
Messi has bagged 86 goals for Argentina, leading his side to the World Cup final in 2014 and Copa America glory in 2021.
Ronaldo meanwhile has a better goal scoring record for his native Portugal, netting 115 times and he too has led his country to glory, at Euro 2016.
Despite heading into the twilights of their respective careers, both Messi and Ronaldo continue to contribute at the highest level of the game and the hopes of both Argentina and Portugal will rest with them both heading into the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Career Major Trophies Won
Messi – 33
Ronaldo – 31
As ever, all teams and players are judged on their trophy return and very few players in the history of the game can compete with Messi and Ronaldo in terms of their silverware returns.
Lionel Messi has won 33 major trophies, including 10 Spanish La Liga titles, 4 Champions League triumphs and the Copa America with his native Argentina.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo has broader smattering of trophies from around the world, including becoming a league winner in England, Spain and Italy and winning both the European Championships and the UEFA Nations League with Portugal.
As mentioned, neither world great looks to be done yet with their assault on the very top of the game and they will both be looking to add to their respective trophy hauls for the next few seasons.
Messi or Ronaldo?
Finding the metric to judge who is better out of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is no easy task, with both players continuing to rewrite the record books of soccer history.
Whether it be measuring the number of goals scored at club or international level or how many trophies both men have won, there is so little to split them over the course of their decorated careers.
With plenty of time still to go in their respective careers and no sign of either player slowing down just yet, who knows how far they will take their achievements before they hang up their boots.
About the Author: Sam Hayes
Combining his sports coaching career with freelance journalism, Sam is a sports betting writer for various online publications. He is looking to develop both his respective coaching and writing careers, whilst incorporating his other huge passion – travelling the world.
Sam currently lives and works in Milan, Italy and playing/following/writing about cricket, football (soccer), tennis, formula 1 and golf continue to take up much of his spare time.