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Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: all-time goals, career stats and awards

Everything you need to know about the two star footballers

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Matthias Hangst/Michael Regan/Getty Images

Player profiles

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

In his career Messi spent 21 years with FC Barcelona, but has now embarked on a new chapter after signing for 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 won his seventh Ballon d’Or award in 2021. 

For Argentina Messi has a record 158 caps for his country in which he has scored 80 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.

Ronaldo, who has scored more than 800 goals for club and country, is the top goalscorer in men’s international football with 115 in 184 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 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: 36
  • 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

Getty Images

Goals, stats and red cards

All-time career (club and country, excluding club friendlies)
  • Ronaldo: 803 goals and 229 assists in 1,100 appearances 
  • Messi: 758 goals and 319 assists in 952 appearances 
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 58; Messi 55
  • Career goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.73; Messi 0.80
  • Penalties: Ronaldo 143 (28 missed); Messi 102 (29 missed)
Club career (excluding friendlies)
  • Ronaldo: 688 goals and 198 assists in 916 appearances 
  • Messi: 678 goals and 272 assists in 794 appearances 
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 48; Messi 48
  • Club goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.75; Messi 0.85
  • Penalties: Ronaldo 127 (21 missed); Messi 84 (25 missed)
International careers (friendly and competitive matches)
  • Ronaldo: 115 goals and 31 assists in 184 appearances for Portugal 
  • Messi: 80 goals and 47 assists in 158 appearances for Argentina 
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 10; Messi 7
  • International goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.63; 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 31 assists in 184 appearances for Portugal 
  • Messi: 80 goals and 47 assists in 158 appearances for Argentina 
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 10; Messi 7
  • International goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.63; 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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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 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 Champions League hat-tricks: 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
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.”

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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.”

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