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Messi or Ronaldo – Who’s the Real GOAT?

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Two fantastic players. Two trophy cabinets filled to bursting. But only one can be recognised as the GOAT.

We’re living in an amazing time. For the past 15 years, we’ve been treated to not just one player who can claim to be the Greatest Of All Time. We’ve had two. Fans at Old Trafford, The Bernabeu and The Allianz Stadium have sung the praises of the Portuguese wizard, Cristiano Ronaldo – while at Camp Nou and Les Parc des Princes, supporters have held up the Argentinian magician Lionel Messi as the best ever.

Two fantastic players. Two trophy cabinets filled to bursting. But only one can be recognised as the GOAT.

So who is it? Messi, or Ronaldo?

Goals

cristiano ronaldo man utd 2021

We’re dealing with two great goalscorers, and two scorers of great goals. But to be the GOAT, you have to score bucketfuls of goals. And not just against the weaker teams.

Ronaldo’s iconic free kick against Portsmouth might have looked nice, but his overhead kick against Juve in the Champions League was more important.

Not that Messi is any slouch in the crucial goals department. For Barca, he scored the game winner in the Club World Cup final in 2009, the 2015 Copa del Rey winner, and of course a crucial header against Manchester United on his way to lifting the Champions League in 2011.

With goals though, it’s the numbers that count, and here there’s really no contest.

As of May 2022, CR7 has scored a mammoth 807 goals in all competitions, to Messi’s 759.

Advantage, Ronaldo.

GOAT Goalscorer: Cristiano Ronaldo

Assists

Football is a team game, so there’s an argument that the GOAT doesn’t need to be the best goalscorer, as long as he’s putting his team-mates in a position to hit the back of the net.

Lionel-Messi-Barcelona

Ronaldo might have hit the net more often,, but he never managed to set up a goal in El Classico while wearing only one shoe – an accolade Messi shares with absolutely nobody else.

In fact, with one boot or two, Messi has set up goals for his team-mates over 300 times – 318 in fact – a FIFA record.

And while Ronaldo has a reputation for being a one-man team – especially in international football – he’s still chalked up a creditable 253 career assists. More than legendary playmakers Xavi and Iniesta.

That puts both stars level as we head into extra time and look for a decider.

         GOAT Playmaker: Messi

Trophies

Let’s face it. Trophies mean a lot in football. Look at the arguments people had before Messi and Ronaldo burst onto the scene about the GOAT. Maradona or Pele? Poor Johan Cruyff, who lost a world cup final, never got a look in.

Neither Messi or Ronaldo have won a World Cup either, but they’re hardly short of a few medals.

Ronaldo has won 30 club trophies in Portugal, England, Spain and Italy, including FIVE Champions Leagues with Manchester United and Real Madrid. He’s won the league title in three countries, and is the first and so far only player to win EVERY domestic trophy in England, Spain and Italy.

Plus he captained his country to two European Championship finals, winning the second in 2016

Surely there’s no way Messi can compete?

Well, it turns out Messi actually has a larger trophy cabinet, with a massive 39 club trophies!

While he’s not as widely-travelled as Ronaldo, Messi has racked up 11 league title wins – ten in Spain, and a Ligue 1 title in France. His four Champions League titles are eclipsed by CR7’s five, but Messi clearly has more domestic silverware.

And not to be outdone on the international stage, Messi captained his country to the 2021 Copa America.

There’s a similar story with personal honours too, with Messi boasting 7 Ballon d’Or wins to Ronaldo’s 5.

GOAT Trophy Winner: Messi

lionel messi psg

Lionel Messi is the Greatest of All Time

It’s official. With more trophies, more assists, and a mere 48 fewer goals, Lionel Messi beats out Cristiano Ronaldo to the title of GOAT.

Or does he? Because that’s the thing about football, stats and trophies only tell part of the story. If you really want to know whether Messi is better than Ronaldo, you need to see them and judge for yourself.

That means getting your hands on Manchester United tickets at Old Trafford, or buying PSG tickets for their matches in Paris.

Whichever you choose, you’ll be seeing one of the two greatest players ever. And there’s no argument about that.

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