Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo is a debate that will never end. The pair have received 12 of the last 13 Ballon d’Or awards, with Luka Modric inserting himself in between in 2018. In 2021, it is safe to say that they are past their prime years, with Ronaldo at 36 and Messi, 34.
A number of attempts have been made to address the debate from a unique perspective. And in this article, we try to compare the two icons in their best ever seasons across all competitions.
Lionel Messi peaked in 2011/12, scored 73 goals across all competitions. Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, scored 61 goals in all competitions. The two players had the same number of assists in La Liga, with 16 each. The Real Madrid forward has more shots per game than his Argentinian rival.
When you assess their metrics further, it seems clear that Messi seems to win across all of them, emerging as the more complete player over the season.
The Champions League is often the deciding factor in terms of sheer goalscoring metrics, and Messi outweighs his rival there as well, with 14 goals in the Champions League in one less game. Surprisingly, neither player won the European Cup despite their players having the best seasons of their careers.
Had we compared it to Ronaldo’s 13/14 season, he would have been much better off in terms of the metrics in the Champions League. But to pin down the prime of two unbelievably consistent players is so difficult that it can barely silence the debate for the future.