In Brief

Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: player profiles

A look at the two superstar footballers

With many records and 12 Ballon d’Or awards 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 hopes to lift the UCL trophy again with PSG. “My goal and my dream is to win the Champions League once more,” he said. “I feel this club is ready to fight for all the trophies. This is my goal, I want to keep growing and keep winning titles and that is why I came to this club.” 

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. He won his seventh Ballon d’Or in 2021.   

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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