Cristiano Ronaldo, a Portuguese footballer and striker for Real Madrid, and Lionel Messi, an Argentinean forward for Barcelona are two of the greatest footballers (soccer players) of our time. Ronaldo is the older of the two, has played in more games and scored more goals than Messi.

Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or for a record 4 times (2010–12, 2015) and Ronaldo won the award in 2013 and 2014. Messi was runner up in the years Ronaldo won the award, while Ronaldo was runner up in 2011 and 2012.

Comparison chart

Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartCristiano RonaldoLionel Messi
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  • current rating is 4.06/5
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Full name Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro Lionel Andrés Messi
Date of birth 5 February 1985 [ Age 34] 24 June 1987 [ Age 32 ]
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in) 1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
Place of birth Funchal, Madeira, Portugal Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina
Playing position Forward Forward
Number 7 10
Current club Juventus F.C. F.C. Barcelona
Club Appearences 673 531
League Italian La Liga
Club goals 487 453
International appearences 119 113
International goals 52 68
National team Portugal Argentina
Strengths Ronaldo will take on any defender with searing pace, and mesmerising footwork to boot. His ability to beat a player and whip in crosses makes him a feared opponent. The way his free-kicks swerve with pace and power is a great asset to his team. His ball skills are second to none, his runs from midfield are usually lethal and he is almost impossible to tackle when he gets his head down. His balance when running at speed is incredible. Also his goal scoring ability is amazing.
Known as CR7 Lionel "Leo" Messi
Weaknesses On occasion, he goes to ground far too easily and sometimes tries a trick when a simple pass would do. Despite his scoring he sometimes messes up a goal scoring opportunity by doing fancy moves he is incapable of pulling off. Too often he searches for a way to finish moves by himself without looking for teammates in a better position to shoot at goal. His strength can be questioned at times when trying to finish close to the net and gets pushed off the ball too easily.
Games appearances 742 611
Goals Scored 488 490
Career high Won the UEFA Champions League with Manchester United in 2008, and subsequently won the FIFA Ballon d'Or. Won the FIFA Ballon d'Or 4 times in a row.
Career low Losing to Greece in the final of Euro 2004 on home. Unable to perform to his best in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where Argentina were eliminated in the quarter-finals with Messi looking on from the bench.
Trivia Cristiano's name Ronaldo came from his father's favourite actor, Ronald Reagan. His debut with the national team (against Hungary) was a disaster: he entered the game in the 18th minute of the second half, and 47 seconds later was sent of. Ironically he would move on to become one of the greatest football players of all time.
Senior career Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid FC, Juventus F.C. FC Barcelona
Club honours 12 21
Individual honours 62 101
Net Worth around $400 million $400 million
Cristiano Ronaldo (L, in Red), Lionel Messi (R, in white and blue stripes) – Portugal vs. Argentina, 9th Feb 2011
Cristiano Ronaldo (L, in Red), Lionel Messi (R, in white and blue stripes) – Portugal vs. Argentina, 9th Feb 2011

Early Life

Ronaldo was born in Funchal, Madeira, in Portugal, on February 5th 1985. He began playing football at age 8, when he joined amateur youth team Andorinha. In 1995, he signed with the local club Nacional, and was then signed by Sporting CP.

Messi was born in Rosario, Argentina, on June 24th 1987. He started playing football at age 5, when he joined a local club coached by his father. He moved to Newell’s Old Boys in 1995, but at age 11, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. The sporting director of FC Barcelona, Carles Rexach, became aware of his talent and gave him a trial with the team, offering to pay his medical bills if he moved to Spain. He moved to Barcelona with his father and enrolled in the club’s youth academy.


Ronaldo becgan his adult career with Sporting CP in 2002. He was signed by Manchester United in 2003, after which he won the FA Cup. He is the captain of the national Portugal team and has played in the team since 2003. In 2009, he transferred to Real Madrid, his current team.

Messi played in Barcelona’s junior teams between 2000 and 2003, before debuting for FC Barcelona C team on November 29th 2003. He began playing for the FC Barcelona B team on 6th March 2004. He began playing for the main Barcelona team in 2004, and has played there ever since. He has also played for the Argentinean team since 2005, and is currently their team captain.

Playing Style

Ronaldo is a fast striker who scores with his head and both feet.

Messi has a lower center of gravity than most players, allowing him to change direction quickly and evade tackles. He uses short bursts of acceleration on the field and is predominantly a left-footed player. He plays a free attack and a playmaking role, and is known for his finishing, his pace, dribbling, vision and passing ability.

Goals scored

In his first team, Sporting CP, Ronaldo scored 3 goals. He scored 84 goals during his 6 years at Manchester United, and has scored 112 goals for Real Madrid. He has scored 35 goals for the national Portuguese team.

Messi scored 5 goals with the Barcelona C team and 6 with the Barcelona B team, before joining the main Barcelona team, where he was made 214 appearances and scored 169 goals. In the Argentinean national team, he has appeared 70 times and scored 26 goals.

Since the 2010 World Cup, Messi and Ronaldo have scored similarly overall, with Messi being responsible for 291 goals and assists in 201 games and Ronaldo being responsible for 289 goals and assists in around 220 games.

While both Messi and Ronaldo are known for scoring goals, they also frequently assist their teammates. However, Messi has more assists than Ronaldo.



Many goals Messi and Ronaldo have scored are the stuff of legend. Nevertheless they have had their fair share of misses. This is a compilation of some of them:

International Career

Messi and Ronaldo have done exceedingly well playing for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. But their record for their national teams has been mixed. Messi is the highest scorer for Argentina with 55 goals in 113 matches, which also makes him the highest-capped player for Argentina. However, success has eluded Messi and the Argentine national team when it comes to victories in the World Cup or the Copa America. In fact, after a penalty shoot-out loss to Chile in the 2016 Copa America in which Messi missed a penalty shot, he announced that he would end his international career playing for Argentina.

Cristiano Ronaldo is likewise the top goalscorer and highest capped player for Portugal, with 60 goals in 130 games. But Portugal has failed to win any world cups or UEFA European Football championships with Ronaldo on the team.


Messi's shots are more accurate than Ronaldo's.
Messi's shots are more accurate than Ronaldo's.

Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or in 2008, the European Golden Shoe in 2008 and 2011, and was named FIFPro Player of the Year, World Soccer Player of the Year, Onze d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2008. He was also named FWA Footballer of the Year in 2007 and 2008, and was awarded the FIFA Puskas Award in 2009.

Messi received the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009, and the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He also won the 2010-2011 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award and was also names Onze d'Or 2009, 2011 and 2012. He was also the UEFA Champions League in Top Goalscorer in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and Pichichi 2010 and 2012.


Ronaldo holds the record for the most goals scored in a season for Real Madrid, the first top European league player to reach 40 goals in a single season for two consecutive years, the fastest Real Madrid Player to reach 100 league goals, and the first player to ever score against every team in a single season in La Liga.

Messi is the first player to score five goals in one UEFA Champions League match. He is the first player to top-score in four consecutive Champions Leagues. He set the world record for the most goals scored in a season in 2011-12, set the current goal scoring record in a single La Liga Season, with 50 goals, and holds the record for the most goals scored per minute in La Liga. He is the youngest Argentine to ever play in the FIFA World Cup and the first player to ever score against all 19 teams consecutively in La Liga.


Ronaldo sparked controversy by comparing his contract with Manchester United to slavery.

Messi was accused of racism by Royston Drenthe in 2012. Drenthe claims that Messi called him “negro” during play.

Personal Life

Ronaldo became a father on 3rd July 2010 and his son, Cristiano, is in his custody. Since the start of 2010, he has been dating the Russian model Irina Shayk. He visited Indonesia to raise money for reconstruction after the 2004 earthquake and tsunami, and he has also donated money to hospitals and to fund treatment for a young boy in Madeira. He

Messi is dating Antonella Roccuzzo. She is expecting their first child in September 2012. Messi established the Leo Messi Foundation in 2007 to support access to education and health care for vulnerable children. He is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.

Notable Quotes

By the players

I don't consider myself as the best player in the world. I'm not obsessed with individual titles. I'm much more interested in being part of a team which wins trophies.” – Cristiano Ronaldo.

Something deep in my character allows me to take the hits and get on with trying to win.” – Lionel Messi.

About the players

"I have nothing but praise for the boy. He is easily the best player in the world. He is better than Kaka and better than Messi. He is streets ahead of them all. His contribution as a goal threat is unbelievable. His stats are incredible. Strikes at goal, attempts on goal, raids into the penalty box, headers. It is all there. Absolutely astounding." - Sir Alex Ferguson, July 2009.

"Messi is my Maradona," - said Maradona himself, as the head coach of the Argentine national team.

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