FYI: 8 reasons why CR7 is the GOAT, therefore better than Messi. - CR7 is a better overall goals scorer. Better goals per game ratio than Messi. - CR7 is a better free- kick scorer. - Messi never prove himself outside Barca. CR7 makes his team better. Messi always rely on Xavi and Iniesta. - Messi constantly dissapears with Argentina when his team need him. - Messi usually dissapears in relevant Champion' matches. - CR7 is a better header scorer. (To be continue)
(part 2:) - CR7 is a player with more goals and assists in the history of CL, he is more decisive in this competition. - CR7 is more decisive with his national team. In WC 2010 Messi score 0 goal even North Korea score more than him. In WC 2014 only scored in a group stage. Don’t mention Copa America, he just scored 1 goals and next year missed penalty. All the greatest players of all times have won with their national team. But Messi won’t. I hope this informations will get in your head. Keep crying.
I’ve avoided getting involved in this “debate” over the last few years or so, but since you took so much effort in trying to convince me of something that isn’t even an argument to me, I have some time & I’m more than happy pay you the same courtesy in explaining to you with facts why this is so. Let’s do it by looking at each of the points you’ve included this so-called “information” I’m supposed to “get in my head”:
► “CR7 is a better overall goals scorer. Better goals per game ratio than Messi.”
All-time, club and country?
- CR: 595 goals/852 matches = 0.70 goal ratio
- Messi: 562 goals/698 matches = 0.81 goal ratio
All-time, just club?
- CR: 524 goals/714 matches = 0.73 goal ratio
- Messi: 504 goals/581 matches = 0.87 goal ratio
All-time, just country?
- CR: 71 goals / 138 matches = 0.51 goal ratio
- Messi: 58 goals / 117 matches = 0.50 goal ratio
CR’s ratio is 0.01 higher and he has had 21 more international matches played than Messi. Alright. Collectively though, that 0.01 doesn’t make him “better overall”.
Conversion rates since 2009:
- CR’s conversion rate total/outside the box: 15% / 5%
- Messi’s conversion rate total/outside the box: 21% / 9%
What about when they’ve been at their very best, goalscoring-wise? Most goals scored in a calendar year:
- CR: 69 goals (ratio: 1.17)
- Messi: 91 goals (ratio: 1.32)
Not only is Messi better in terms of quantity of goals, he is also a better goalscorer when context is considered. How do they perform under pressure/when the team needs them the most? From 2016:
- CR conversion rate when team is winning / when team is losing or drawing: 25% / 6%
- Messi conversion rate when team is winning / when team is losing or drawing: 22% / 20%
Here’s an infographic (although it’s only updated up to 2015) to help better illustrate the importance of context & goalscoring when it comes to Messi and Cristiano:
Goals after 1 dribble/2 dribbles/3 dribbles/4 dribbles:
- CR: 45 goals/10 goals/2 goals/0 goals
- Messi: 115 goals/40 goals/15 goals/4 goals
- CR: 13 goals
- Messi: 90 goals
► “CR7 is a better free-kick scorer.”
- Since Messi and Ronaldo have been playing together in Spain (2009-10 season):
- CR has scored 20 goals in 291 attempts. This creates a conversion rate 6.87%.
- Messi scored 17 free-kick goals with 212 attempts, creating a conversion rate of 8.02%.
- Since 2012:
- CR has scored 17; conversion rate = 7%,
- Messi has scored 23; conversion rate = 10.5%
- Even more recent, just for fun:
- Messi has scored 3 free-kicks in 2017 alone
- CR has converted only 3 since 2015.
What about in big matches?
- Total free-kick goals in El Clasico:
- Messi = 2
- CR = 0
- Messi’s total free-kick goals in World Cup and Copa America matches: 2
- CA = 1 (vs. Panama)
- WC = 1 (vs. Nigeria)
- CR’s total free-kick goals in World Cup & Euro matches: 0.
- With 43 attempts. On average, he has had a shot from a direct free-kick every 67 minutes he has been on the pitch (with a total of 2,884 minutes at major international tournaments) and has a ZERO PERCENT conversion rate.
► “Messi never proved himself outside Barca.”
The old “but can he do it on a cold, wet Tuesday night in Stoke?” argument is easy to lean on because he hasn’t, but it doesn’t change that it’s an extremely flawed argument. Let’s look at why - specifically England, where CR has proved himself outside of Spain since we’re doing a head-to-head comparison.
- Lionel Messi has scored more Champions League goals against English clubs than he has against sides from any other nation.
- On the 25 occasions that he has lined up against English teams, Messi has scored a total of 16 goals.
- Arsenal - 9 goals in 6 matches.
- Manchester City - 5 goals in 5 matches.
- Manchester United - 2 goals (which helped Barcelona claim Champions League victories in Rome in 2009 and at Wembley Stadium in 2011
Never mind him having big performances against Bayern/Leverkusen, PSG/Lyon, AC Milan/Roma, Celtic/Rangers and etc. So, something tells me the kid from Rosario - who also played very well through the rough conditions he experienced there - CAN do it on cold, rainy night in Stoke. If you think he cannot simply because he hasn’t, that’s up to you. You’re entitled to your opinion. But the stats tell us another story.
► “CR7 makes his team better.”
Sure he does, he is one of football’s greatest. But Messi makes his even better.
Messi’s total major club trophies: 29 TOTAL (including 2 trebles, one of those years winning the sextuple)
- 8 League championships
- 4 Champions Leagues
- 4 Copas del Rey
- 3 UEFA Supercups
- 3 Club World Cups
- 7 Supercopas de España
CR total major club trophies (RM+Manchester United): 16 TOTAL
- 4 League championships
- 2 Copas del Rey
- 2 Champions Leagues
- 1 Supercopa de España
- 1 FA Cup
- 1 EFL Cup
- 1 Community Shield
- 3 Club World Cups
- 1 Super Cup
Stats since 2009, when Messi and CR started playing together in the same league:
- CR + RM: 9 major Trophies
- + 1 Liga
- + 2 Copas del Rey
- + 2 Champions Leagues
- + 1 Supercopa de España
- + 2 Club World Cups
- + 1 Super Cup
- Messi + Barça: 20 major trophies
- + 5 Ligas
- + 3 Copas del Rey
- + 2 Champions Leagues
- + 5 Supercopas de España
- + 3 Club World Cups
- + 2 UEFA Super Cups
All-time assists, club and country:
- CR: 195, in 852 matches
- Messi: 230, in 698 matches
► “Messi always relies on Xavi and Iniesta.”
Another archaic myth that Messi has destroyed year after year. Crazy that people are still hanging on to this, even after Xavi has been gone for two years now and Iniesta has been on/off form while dealing with playing in/out of position. Meanwhile, Messi has continued to improve and remain the greatest.
This myth seemingly makes sense due to Messi’s lack of titles with Argentina compared to his achievements at Barca - but again, this is a very flawed argument. Messi is the greatest player in the world and Xavi/Iniesta are two of the greatest midfielders/were one of the greatest midfield duos of this generation. Together, the three of them contributed to a Barça that won everything a club can within a short span of time. But how can we say in the same sentence that “Barça is only successful because they rely on Messi” AND “Messi is only successful because he relies on Xavi/Iniesta”? Grasping at straws like this really isn’t necessary, because the truth of the matter is that they simply formed a brilliant partnership together. Barcelona successfully utilized the talents of these incredible players together to succeed. Some facts to further debunk this:
- During Messi’s record breaking year when he scored 91 goals, he was assisted only eight times by Iniesta and five times by Xavi.
- Neither Xavi nor Iniesta have even assisted Messi the most in his career. It’s Dani Alves.
- Messi continues to have the most Barcelona assists himself since 2003/2004. At Barcelona, he has more assists alone than Iniesta and Xavi combined in their club careers.
But maybe assists alone cannot determine the impact Xavi or Iniesta has on Messi. Alright, what about pre-assisted goals (goals pre-assisted by the scorer)?
- As we said before, as of 2016, 90 of Messi’s goals were pre-assisted. This means that in ~23% of his goals, he started the play with key passes that ended up back with him scoring.
- While CR, surrounded by Modric, Kroos, Ozil, Di Maria, etc. (I’m not sure why people like to act like he hasn’t been surrounded by top players) throughout his career sits at 13 pre-assisted goals.
Not convinced? Then let’s look at Messi’s performances for Argentina, where he has no Xavi/Iniesta. You said….
► “Messi constantly disappears with Argentina when his team need him. CR7 is more decisive with his national team.”
Which is again, false. Of all the big name players that play for Argentina, you call the man who is, for his national team, the…
- Top scorer in all international competitions, including friendlies
- Top scorer in International friendlies
- Top scorer from the penalty spot
- Top scorer in all U-20 international competitions
- Top scorer in FIFA World Cup qualification
- Top scorer when looking at goals scored in one calendar year
- Top hat-trick scorer in all international competitions, including friendlies
- Top assister in all international competitions, including friendlies
- Only player that have scored against all 9 South American Nations
- Key contributor in terms of keeping possession, averaging 63 passes per game and converting 86.2 percent.
“disappearing”, “dependent on Xavi/Iniesta” and "indecisive”?
- Argentina’s National Team Win % in 2014 and 2018 World Cup Qualification with Messi: 65%
- Without Messi? 22%.
I would suggest reading and watching [this analysis] for a better perspective on this. There is a video there which compares how Messi plays for Argentina and how he plays for Barcelona and it reveals that there isn’t much difference between how he plays for both sides, but there is a difference in the behaviour of his teammates. The confidence that Messi receives from his teammates in Barcelona is far different from what he is offered by his teammates in Argentina. As I said before, Barcelona has been able to successfully utilize Messi’s talents/abilities and have reaped every award there is because of it - something Argentina has failed to take advantage of so far.
In regards to CR with this, a reminder:
- CR goals international: 71 goals / 138 matches = 0.51 goal ratio
- Messi goals: 58 goals / 117 matches = 0.50 goal ratio
A difference of 0.01, with CR playing 21 more international games.
- CR: 23
- Messi: 37 (in 21 less matches)
International Goal Participation?
- CR: Every 113m + 25s
- Messi: Every 99m + 12s
► “In WC 2010 Messi score 0 goal even North Korea score more than him. In WC 2014 only scored in a group stage. Don’t mention Copa America, he just scored 1 goals and next year missed penalty.”
It’s true that Messi didn’t score in WC 2010. He did get an assist (the same amount as CR in the tournament) and was named MOTM once (the same number of times as CR in the tournament). Funny you should mention North Korea though, the ONLY team Ronaldo scored against in WC 2010. Once. After Portugal was already up 6-0.
Also, I’m not sure which WC 2014 you were watching. I was watching the one where Ronaldo’s only goal in this tournament was also in the group stage (against Ghana), while Messi scored four times in the group stages, assisted Di Maria’s goal which carried them in the round of 16, and carried his team to the final.
And lol ”don’t mention Copa America”? Why? Because Leo carried his team to the final twice in two years?
- 1 goal, 2 penalties (including the ONLY one of his teammates to do so in the final)
- 3 assists
- 5 goals
- 4 assists
- (If you want to compare to CR’s Euro 2016, where he scored 3 and assisted 3).
- Again, carried his team to the final. But sure, summarize the tournament as a “missed penalty” to fit your narrative.
Also worth mentioning that in 2007, at age 20, he also set up the game winning goal against the US in the opening 4-1 win, scored the game-tying first goal vs Colombia in their 4-2 win, assisted their only goal against Paraguay in the beginning of the knockout stage, scored the second goal in their quarter-final victory, and another in their 3-0 semifinal win - which lead to the first of the three Copa America finals he’s played in.
► “CR7 is a better header scorer.”
Yes, a 6′1 CR is better at scoring headers than a 5′7 Messi (*pretends to be shocked*). CR just passed Aduriz for this record a few months ago actually, which isn’t surprising - Cristiano has shown he’s very good in the air. Nobody is denying that Cristiano has great qualities as a player. But as I’m sure you would agree, this argument alone, does not cement anyone as the greatest of all time. Also notable to mention that Barça as a team - tactics/style kept in mind - score less headers. Next.
► “Messi disappears in relevant Champions League matches.”
Did you even try with this one? A few examples of how wrong this is off the top of my head?
UCL Final vs. Manchester United, 2009
UCL Quarterfinals vs. Arsenal, 2010
- Scored four goals in the second leg, the first three in just 21 minutes
UCL Semifinals vs. Real Madrid, 2011
- Scored twice in ten minutes in the first leg. We advanced to the final 3-1 on aggregate.
UCL Final vs. Manchester United, 2011
UCL Semifinals vs. Bayern, 2015
- Nobody will ever forget his two goals in this extremely ‘relevant’ match, as you put it.
- Was also at the heart of Neymar’s second goal in the second leg.
UCL Final at Berlin against Juventus, 2015
- Messi’s pass to Alba sparked the first goal scored by Rakitic
- Messi was at the heart of the counter attack which gave Barca the lead again.
- He wasn’t on the scoresheet, but he made his presence felt.
It’s true that our last two Champions League tournaments were not what we hoped they would be, but in our ‘relevant’ matches then, Leo still scored 3 against Arsenal over both legs and scored a crucial penalty in our historic PSG comeback this year.
I couldn’t help but notice how you didn’t have a counter-response about CR and ‘relevant’ CL matches. Could it have to do with numbers like this, from last season?:
^ (And again, credit to Sarah for this.)
And speaking of ‘relevant’ matches, why not mention ‘relevant’ league matches?
Credit to Grup 14 for the graph. Messi’s line (higher than CR’s in all aspects) shows a relatively steady performance in games (goals/assists) that isn’t affected by the quality of the opposition - so he’s there (more or less) regardless of ‘relevance’ of the match. Meanwhile, as we can see, CR follows an obvious increase in performance as the quality of the opposing team decreases.
► “CR7 is a player with more goals and assists in the history of CL, he is more decisive in this competition”
CR does have an advantage when it comes to assists in this competition (37 in 145 vs. Messi’s 25 in 115) - the only competition which he surpasses Messi in assists. And I’m certainly not denying that he’s decisive in this competition. Nobody could.
But with goals:
- CR: 104 goals in 145 games = 0.72 goals/game
- Messi: 94 goals in 115 games = 0.82 goals/game
And ultimately, titles:
- CR: 3
- Messi: 4
► “All the greatest players of all times have won with their national team. But Messi won’t.”
Cruyff. Raul. Puskas. Eusebio. Zico. Maldini. Ballack. Bergkamp. Figo. Gascoigne. Laudrup. And the list goes on.
The greatness of these players, all who have never won an international title, are not questioned. A list Cristiano was also on just last year. Did you create this entire argument after the goal Eder scored, which CR watched from the bench?Did that moment make you believe it can overshadow all of the facts above?
If you want to get technical, Messi won with Argentina in 2008, when he became an olympic champion and was highlighted as one of the standout players in the tournament.
Neither CR nor Leo has lead their team to a World Cup.
But it is true that Messi hasn’t won a Copa America, despite playing in 3 finals and standing out in each one of those tournaments.
- Most Ballons d'Or (5): Messi
- Most consecutive Ballons d'Or (4): Messi
- Most goals in La Liga history (347): Messi
- Most assists in La Liga history (137): Messi
- Most goals scored in a La Liga season (50): Messi
- Most goals scored in a club season (73): Messi
- Most goals in El Clasico history (23): Messi
- Most assists in El Clasico history (13): Messi
All I have to say is that if after going through the facts, doing some reading (some suggestions = Lionel Messi is Impossible, Beyond stats and stunts - The gulf between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo widened in 2016, Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo - Who’s the best goalscorer?, Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo - What defines a big-game player?, and the Messi vs. Ronaldo resource), some watching/listening (check out Lionel Messi - The World’s Greatest, CruijffCast - Episode 7 - Messi x Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi vs. No Space, and Lionel Messi - The 10 Smartest Skills Without Touching the Ball), and maybe just watching some of Messi’s matches that will show you the things stats can’t fully capture… if you believe that headers in a differing styles of play and one international title can justify your entire argument, then there’s no more convincing I can do. This is why I like to stay out of this debate these days. Because for me, although CR is undoubtedly one of the great players of this generation, the greatest of all time isn’t debatable.
So if you haven’t guessed it by now, there are no tears over here. If you need a tissue though, let me know!