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Messi vs Ronaldo - Who is the best?

Updated on June 19, 2013

The Big Debate, Messi vs Ronaldo.

It's an argument which has already spanned for at least four years and there is no sign of it ending anytime soon. In this article I will tell you why each player works so well in their respective team and what tactics benefit them. I will discuss certain aspects of each players game, and tell you which player is better at each.

Current Statistics- 2012-2013 Season

Here is a look at both players statistics both domestically and for their respective national teams for 2012-2013 season.

Lionel Messi

Barcelona- La Liga- 30 games played, 44 goals, 10 assists.

UEFA Champions League- 11 games played, 8 goals, 2 assists.

Copa Del Rey- 5 games played, 4 goals.

Spanish Super Cup- 2 games played, 2 goals.

Argentina- 12 games played, 14 goals and 2 assists.

Total- 60 games played, 73 goals and 14 assists.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid- La Liga- 31 games played, 31 goals and 5 assists.

UEFA Champions League- 11 games played, 12 goals and 1 assist.

Copa Del Rey- 6 games and 6 goals.

Spanish Super Cup- 2 games played, 2 goals.

Portugal- 15 games played. 6 goals and 3 assists.

Total- 65 games played, 57 goals and 9 assists.

Messi and Ronaldo


I will take a look at the role each player takes in their team, how certain tactics benefit them and play to their strengths.

Messi and Barcelona- There is absolutely no doubt about it and Messi himself is often quick to remind people, that his overwhelming success is partly due to Barcelona's system and the way he beautifully dovetails with his teammates. Barcelona's reformed style was first seen under Pep Guardiola's reign, and has earned itself the name 'Tika Taka' football. This system is very much possession based making teams constantly chase the ball and tire out quicker than normal. Obviously to play like this you must have pinpoint passing, great vision and exceptional movement, which Barcelona have in an abundance. By playing this way it drags players out from their position to chase the ball, which in turn allows Messi to take up the position where he is most deadly, in between the opposition's midfield and defensive line. When he recieve's the ball here most teams become another statistic on his remarkable goal tally. There are three things he ususally does from this point, which are all deadly. One choice he often makes is to play an intricate through ball to one of his team mates allowing them a chance at goal. The second option is a long range effort at goal which has most goalkeeper's scrambling for the ball. The third thing he does is something we have all seen happen numerous times in a Barcelona game. He interlinks with team mates taking player after player out of the game, then often uses his unmatched agility and sharpness to skip pass the last defender before chipping the ball over the goalkeeper with what seems like ease. Because of his ability, Messi is giving a free attacking role and usually takes up a position on the left hand side of the field. This benefits him as when he receives the ball in this area, he can cut inside onto his favoured left foot and take aim.

Ronaldo and Real Madrid- Just like his rival, Ronaldo has the advantage of playing in a system that plays to his strengths. Under current coach Jose Mourinho Real Madrid have had some ups and downs, but star man Ronaldo has kept his game at the very top. Madrid play a way totally different to Barcelona, but it can be just as effective. Their style is counter attacking, and they are arguably the best in world football at this style. This is great for Ronaldo as he is one of the fastest players around, meaning he can out pace almost any defender and be left with a one on one with the goalkeeper, which more often than not he slots home. Although he does get a lot of goals from a counter attacking position, there is a great deal more to his game than his pace. Ronaldo has gained a reputation for striking the ball in a way not seen before which creates massive amounts of swerve. He hits through the ball with his laces and scores extraordinary long range goals with this technique. Madrid are a team who like to cross balls into the box which again suits Ronaldo as his aerial prowess is second to none. Just like Messi, Ronaldo has somewhat of a free attacking role, where he takes up a position on the right hand side of the field. For the same reason as Messi, he does this so he can trick the defenders with his quick feet and cut inside onto his powerhouse of a right foot.

The World's Top Two Show Mutual Respect
The World's Top Two Show Mutual Respect

Goal Scoring

Messi- 91 goals in the 2012 caledar year, destroying a world record which stood nearly 40 years. Obviously to get this many goals you can't be putting many chances to waste, and that is something Messi certainly doesn't do. His finishing really is sublime, often using his trademark chip over the goalkeeper and over the past year adding another dimension to his game. This new dimension is his exquisite dead ball ability. This season already we have seen a number of his goals coming from freekicks, which usually have a great deal of bend and precision. One stat which proved Messi's finishing was spectacular was when he became the first person ever to score five goals in a champions league match, in which he only took a total of six shots to achieve this feat. Messi also holds the La Liga record for most goals in a season, 50 (2011-2012).

Ronaldo- Ronaldo beat Messi to the Pichichi in the 2010-2011 season scoring a remarkable 40 goals. He then outdone himself in the 2011-2012 season scoring 46 goals, only to be outdone by his great rival who bagged 50. Ronaldo has proved himself to be a versatile goal scorer and although not always outscoring Messi, very much hot on his heels. His goals vary from headers, tap-ins, guided shots past the goalkeeper to the quite impressive long range efforts which can be unstoppable. His free kicks are different to messi's as they are more powerful and the swerve on them is a lot more unpredictable which creates more problems for the goalkeeper.

Who I choose - For the best goal scorer I have to go with Messi. Although Ronaldo is better in the air, I think Messi has the edge as his shooting is way more precise compared to Ronaldo's which can be very irratic. Ronaldo can sometimes gets caught in two minds in front of goal, whereas you could almost put your mortgage on Messi to score.

Who's The Best....

Who is better, Messi or Ronaldo?

See results

Influence on a Game

Messi- Messi having a quiet game is something which is pretty rare and would still usually consist of a shot or two on target. When he happens to find himself not on the scoresheet in a game, more often than not he has assisted goals in that game and give team mates chances to score with his brilliant array of passes which split open the best of defences. As well as scoring massive amounts of goals, Messi dominates games with his general matchplay and his teamwork.

Ronaldo- Ronaldo is a player who can change any game at the drop of a hat, with moments of pure genius. He has games where a hat trick will be made to seem easy, making defences look like sunday league teams. However, we have seen at times Ronaldo have quiet games where he may score a goal but be somewhat unseen for the rest of the game.

Who has the most Influence on a Game?

Because of the utter domiation Messi takes of almost every game he plays in I again choose him. Messi continuously has more assists than Ronaldo which shows his teamwork is more effective by bringing fellow players into the game.

Defensive Ability

Messi- Under Tito Vilanova Barcelona don't really have much of a defensive system, it's more a case of keep the ball by passing it and attack at every opportunity. Because of their style and the position Messi is asked to take up, he rarely is called upon to defend and doesn't frequent his teams defensive area often. We defending set pieces Messi's height is not much of an obstruction for the opposition attackers. They can easily out jump him and win the ball, this is why he is not really used in a defensive situation for set pieces,

Ronaldo- Madrid's system being counter attacking means they must defend before attacking, and as well as his attacking excellence, Ronaldo is a force when defending. His strong and muscular physique allows him to out strength players and easily move them off the ball. With one of the best leaps in world football Ronaldo is a great asset for Madrid when defending set pieces. Just like at the other end of the field he rises above the opposition to win the ball and takes the pressure off his team.

Who has the best defensive Ability?

Because of his strength, speed and aerial ability it is clear that Ronaldo has the nod over Messi for this one. Just as defenders find him hard to play against, attackers do as well. He's near impossible to out pace, which stops the opposition getting crosses in the box. He also wins numerous balls in the air leaving a difficult job for any attacker playing against him.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Cristiano Ronaldo is a gay.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      cristiano ronaldo is the best


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