Messi vs. Ronaldo: The Numbers

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Our graphic design team at put together some interesting photos that help to illustrate some of the parallels between two of the greatest players in the modern game.

The first one takes a look at their goal totals (at this moment) and how those goals were scored:

There’s a few interesting stats here, but what really stands out is the fact that Ronaldo has a little over 5x the number of headers as Messi and when scoring with either foot Ronaldo is twice as likely as Messi to score with his off foot. Messi is left-footed and Ronaldo is right-footed, but Messi has scored over a hundred more goals with his dominant foot than Ronaldo has.

It’s undeniable that the difference in headers is due to the different stature of the two players. With Messi standing at 5’7″, headers might be the only thing “the atomic flea” isn’t made for, while Ronaldo whose height is listed at 6’2″ is much more capable of the height and physicality needed for air combat. You could make the argument that Ronaldo is the more dynamic of the two when it comes to offense, but then there’s these numbers to consider:

While Ronaldo may be more dynamic when he’s the one scoring, Messi has over 50 more assists than Ronaldo in almost 150 fewer games. Though Ronaldo recently broke 700 goals, Messi is on track to do the same in what we could reasonably estimate to be at least 70 fewer games (barring any catastrophes).

Meaning on average, Messi both scores, and facilitates scoring for his team approximately 10% more than Ronaldo. And then there’s everyone’s favorite category to compare, the hardware:

We’re not going to explain what’s laid out clearly above, but what’s important to note is that since Messi’s debut in 2005, Barcelona has pulled in 34 trophies in contrast to Real Madrid’s 20. Now Ronaldo hasn’t played for Madrid since the 2017-2018 season, but Messi’s influence on the trophy line is undeniable.

If Ronaldo wouldn’t have been on Real Madrid from 2009-2018 the trophy gap between the two teams would likely be even more exaggerated. And of course there’s one more thing that can be compared between the two. Who has the best boot?

The Nemeziz 19+ for Messi is one of the wildest cleats on the modern market with its wrap all around fit and laceless design, but the Nike Superfly 7 Elite is one of the most in-demand cleats year around for players competing at the highest levels.

Both cleats have influenced not only their modern brand, but the industry as a whole, and both are considered the signature style of two of the best players in the world.

While it’s fun to run the numbers and make a case for one over the other, at the end the end of the day, it’s clear that Ronaldo and Messi are both unconventional, out of this world talent, and even more surprising, and fortunate for us the viewers their play styles are different.

Here’s a meme that does a good job explaining it:

Messi and Ronaldo fans can get their official jerseys, cleats, and more at

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