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Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: all-time goals, career stats, trophies, awards, hat-tricks

Everything you need to know about the star footballers

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Matthias Hangst/Michael Regan/Getty Images

Player profiles: Messi and Ronaldo

With 12 Ballon d’Or awards, countless records and many trophies between them, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will go down in history as two of the best football players of all time.

In his career Messi spent 21 years with FC Barcelona, but has now embarked on a new chapter at French club Paris Saint-Germain. At Barca he won multiple trophies including Spain’s La Liga title ten times and the Uefa Champions League four times. He also won his seventh Ballon d’Or award in 2021. 

For Argentina Messi has a record 160 caps for his country in which he has scored 81 goals. Argentina won the 2021 Copa America with Messi the top goalscorer in the competition. After winning a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics the Copa America triumph in 2021 was Messi’s first in senior international football.   

Portugal skipper Ronaldo has played his club football with Sporting Lisbon (2002-03), Manchester United (2003-09), Real Madrid (2009-2018) and Juventus (2018-2021). In the 2021 summer transfer window he made a sensational return to Old Trafford. His trophy collection includes five Champions League winners’ medals and league titles in England, Spain and Italy.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo, who has scored more than 800 goals for club and country, is the top goalscorer in men’s international football with 115 in 186 matches for Portugal. He won the European Championship with his country in 2016. He is also the all-time top goalscorer for Real Madrid (450) and in the Uefa Champions League (140). 

Lionel Messi player profile
  • Age: 34
  • Born: 24 June 1987
  • Clubs: Paris Saint-Germain (2021-present); Barcelona (2004-2021)
  • Nationality: Argentine 
  • Ballon d’Or wins: 7 wins (2021, 2019, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009)
  • The Best Fifa Men’s Player: 1 (2019)
  • Champions League winners’ medals - 4: 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15 (all with Barcelona)
  • Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award: 1 (2019, joint winner with Lewis Hamilton)
  • Captained Argentina in their 2021 Copa America win
Cristiano Ronaldo player profile
  • Age: 37
  • Born: 5 February 1985
  • Clubs: Manchester United (2021-present); Juventus (2018-2021); Real Madrid (2009-2018); Manchester United (2003-09); Sporting Lisbon (2002-03) 
  • Nationality: Portuguese 
  • Ballon d’Or wins: 5 wins (2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2008) 
  • The Best Fifa Men’s Player: 2 wins (2016 and 2017)
  • Champions League winners’ medals - 5: 2007–08 with Man Utd; 2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17 and 2017–18 with Real Madrid
  • Captained Portugal in their Euro 2016 win
  • Top goalscorer in men’s international football (115 goals) 
  • Top goalscorer in the Uefa Champions League (140 goals)

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

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All-time goals, career stats and red cards

All-time career (club and country, excluding club friendlies)
  • Ronaldo: 813 goals and 230 assists in 1,119 appearances 
  • Messi: 764 goals and 328 assists in 971 appearances 
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 60; Messi 55
  • Career goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.73; Messi 0.79
  • Penalties: Ronaldo 144 (29 missed); Messi 102 (30 missed)
Club career (excluding friendlies)
  • Ronaldo: 698 goals and 198 assists in 933 appearances 
  • Messi: 683 goals and 281 assists in 811 appearances 
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 50; Messi 48
  • Club goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.75; Messi 0.84
  • Penalties: Ronaldo 128 (22 missed); Messi 84 (26 missed)
International careers (friendly and competitive matches)
  • Ronaldo: 115 goals and 32 assists in 186 appearances for Portugal 
  • Messi: 81 goals and 47 assists in 160 appearances for Argentina 
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 10; Messi 7
  • International goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.62; Messi 0.51
  • Penalties: Ronaldo 16 (7 missed); Messi 18 (4 missed)
Career red cards: Messi 3, Ronaldo 11

Messi has been sent off three times in his career - twice for Argentina and once for Barcelona. He saw red just 43 seconds into his Argentina debut after coming on as a sub against Hungary in 2005. He was also sent off against Chile in the 2019 Copa America.

Messi’s third career red card - and first at club level - came on 17 January 2021. In the 3-2 Spanish Super Cup final loss against Athletic Bilbao, Messi walked after VAR spotted him lashing out against Asier Villalibre.

Ronaldo has been sent off 11 times in his career - once for Juventus, six times for Real Madrid and four times for Manchester United.

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Getty Images

International football

International careers (friendly and competitive matches)
  • Ronaldo: 115 goals and 32 assists in 186 appearances for Portugal 
  • Messi: 81 goals and 47 assists in 160 appearances for Argentina 
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 10; Messi 7
  • International goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.62; Messi 0.51
  • Penalties: Ronaldo 16 (7 missed); Messi 18 (4 missed)
Ronaldo’s World Cup goals
  • 2006: 1 
  • 2010: 1 
  • 2014: 1 
  • 2018: 4
Messi’s World Cup goals
  • 2006: 1 
  • 2010: 0 
  • 2014: 4 
  • 2018: 1
Ronaldo’s Uefa European Championship finals record
  • Tournaments: 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020
  • All-time finals record: 14 goals in 24 matches 
  • Euro 2004: two goals
  • Euro 2008: one goal
  • Euro 2012: three goals
  • Euro 2016: three goals (Portugal won the tournament)
  • Euro 2020: five goals (top scorer)
Messi’s Copa America finals record 
  • Tournaments: 2007, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2021
  • All-time finals record: 13 goals in 34 matches
  • 2007 Copa America: two goals 
  • 2011 Copa America: zero goals 
  • 2015 Copa America: one goal
  • 2016 Copa América Centenario: five goals
  • 2019 Copa America: one goal
  • 2021 Copa America: four goals (Argentina won the tournament)

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Hat-tricks

Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 60 hat-tricks in his illustrious career after netting his latest treble in Manchester United’s 3-2 victory over Norwich City on 16 April. The Portuguese star was on target in the Premier League fixture in the seventh, 32nd and 76th minutes. 

Despite being criticised in “a difficult season” for United, Ronaldo “continues to make history and break records”, said Nathan Egerton on PlanetFootball.com. He may be in the “twilight of his career” but the 37-year-old “can still produce those flashes of genius”.

On Twitter, Ronaldo posted: “30 hat-tricks before 30 and 30 hat-tricks after 30. It’s time to unbalance the scale!”

Ronaldo, who also scored three in United’s home game against Tottenham on 12 March, averages a hat-trick every 18.6 games. He has scored 44 hat-tricks for Real Madrid, three for United, three for Juventus and ten for Portugal. 

In comparison, Ronaldo’s great rival Lionel Messi has scored 55 career hat-tricks – one every 17.6 games, according to MessivsRonaldo.app. Messi is yet to score a hat-trick for current club Paris Saint-Germain, but netted 48 for Barcelona and seven for Argentina. 

Both players have scored eight hat-tricks in the Uefa Champions League. 

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The Uefa Champions League trophy 

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Uefa Champions League

Ronaldo vs. Messi in European football

Statistics according to Uefa.com:

  • Champions League goals (group stage to final): Ronaldo 140 (21 for Man Utd; 105 for Real Madrid; 14 for Juventus); Messi 125 (120 for Barcelona; 5 for PSG)
  • Total Uefa competition goals: Ronaldo 143; Messi 128
  • Champions League hat-tricks: Ronaldo 8; Messi 8 
  • All-time Champions League group stage goals: Ronaldo 73; Messi 76  
  • Did you know? Ronaldo is the only player to score in three Uefa Champions League finals, and the first to score in 11 successive Champions League matches 
Champions League head-to-head
  • Ronaldo Champions League stats: 140 goals, 40 assists, 183 appearances
  • Messi Champions League stats: 125 goals, 35 assists, 156 appearances
  • Ronaldo Champions League winners’ medals – 5: 2007-08 (with Man Utd); 2013-14, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 (with Real Madrid) 
  • Messi Champions League winners’ medals – 4: 2005-06, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2014-15 (all with Barcelona)
  • Career hat-tricks in the Champions League: 8 each

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The duo have won 12 Ballon d’Or awards between them

The duo have won 12 Ballon d’Or awards between them

Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images

Trophies and awards

Messi club honours
  • Clubs: Paris Saint-Germain (2021-present); Barcelona (2004-2021)
  • La Liga titles: 10
  • Copa del Rey: 7
  • Spanish Supercup: 7
  • Uefa Champions League: 4 
  • Uefa Super Cup: 3 
  • Fifa Club World Cup: 3
  • Ligue 1 titles: 1 
Messi international honours with Argentina
  • 2021 Copa America winner and golden boot winner
  • Fifa Under-20 World Cup: 1 (2005) 
  • Olympic Gold Medal: 1 (2008)
  • Record number of appearances for Argentina: 158
Ronaldo club honours
  • Clubs: Manchester United (2021-present); Juventus (2018-2021); Real Madrid (2009-2018); Manchester United (2003-2009); Sporting Lisbon (2002-2003)
  • Premier League titles: 3 
  • FA Cup: 1 
  • English Football League Cup: 2 
  • La Liga titles: 2 
  • Copa del Rey: 2 
  • Spanish Supercup: 2 
  • Uefa Champions League: 5 (four with Real Madrid, one with Man Utd)
  • Uefa Super Cup: 2 
  • Fifa Club World Cup: 4 (three with Real Madrid, one with Man Utd)
  • Portugal Super Cup: 1
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2
  • Serie A titles: 2
Ronaldo international honours with Portugal
  • Uefa European Championship titles: 1 (2016)
  • Uefa Nations League titles: 1 (2019)
  • All-time leading scorer in men’s international football (115 goals)
  • All-time leading scorer in European Championship history (14 goals in 25 tournament matches) 
  • Euro 2020 golden boot winner
Ronaldo vs. Messi: Ballon d’Or wins
  • Ronaldo – 5 wins: 2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2008
  • Messi – 7 wins: 2021, 2019, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
Messi’s European Golden Shoe awards
  • 2009-10: 34 goals 
  • 2011-12: 50 goals 
  • 2012-13: 46 goals 
  • 2016-17: 37 goals 
  • 2017-18: 34 goals
  • 2018-19: 36 goals
Ronaldo’s European Golden Shoe awards
  • 2007-08: 31 goals 
  • 2010-11: 40 goals 
  • 2013-14: 31 goals (shared with Luis Suarez) 
  • 2014-15: 48 goals

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Lionel Messi won his seventh Ballon d’Or award in 2021

Lionel Messi won his seventh Ballon d’Or award in 2021

Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

What people say about Messi 

Cristiano Ronaldo: “I really admire the career he has had so far, and, for his part, he has already said that he had trouble when I left the Spanish league because it is a rivalry that he appreciates. It is a good rivalry that exists in football, but this is no exception. Michael Jordan had rivals in basketball, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were great rivals in Formula One, the only common point between all the big rivalries in the sport is that they are healthy.”

Pep Guardiola: “He is the best player I have ever seen. The best thing about him is not what he does but how simple he makes everything look.He is not just the best player because he can dribble past three or four players, it is because he does it better than anyone in the world.”

Neymar: “I played with Messi, who is, for me, one of the greatest footballers of all time, and he is my idol in football.”

Diego Maradona: “I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentine football and his name is Messi. Messi is a genius.”

David Beckham: “He [Messi] is alone in his class as a player, it is impossible that there is another like him. He, like Cristiano Ronaldo, who is not at his level, are both above the rest.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo was captain as Portugal won Euro 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo was captain as Portugal won Euro 2016

Getty Images

What people say about Ronaldo 

Lionel Messi: “(Ronaldo) is always there scoring goals in all the games and taking part in his club and national side. He has been doing that for many years and whether he is at his peak or a bit below it makes no difference.”

Brazil legend Pele, after Ronaldo reached 770 official goals: “Life is a solo flight. Each makes his own journey. And what a beautiful journey you are having. I admire you a lot, I love watching you play and this is no secret to anyone. Congratulations on breaking my record of goals in official matches. My only regret is not being able to give you a hug today.”

George Best: “There have been a few players described as the new George Best over the years, but this is the first time it’s been a compliment to me.”

Zinedine Zidane: “When you play with Ronaldo on your team, you are already 1-0 up.”

Gerard Pique: “The best player I have ever played against has to be Ronaldo. You cannot afford to take your eyes off him.”

Paolo Di Canio: “Messi left the pitch scratching his head, he has no emotions. I prefer Cristiano Ronaldo. ‘Do you want me to sit on the bench against Man City?’ I go back to Portugal, then I return and score a hat-trick. I prefer the human who has a soul to the alien without emotions.”

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