Ronaldo–messi Rivalry

Argentine professional footballer Films Portuguese professional footballer Eponyms Films The Ronaldo–Messi rivalry is a football rivalry between fans of Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentinian forward Lionel Messi and supposedly between the athletes themselves. Having won a combined ten Ballon d'Or/FIFA Ballon d'Or awards (5 each), both are widely regarded not only as the two best players of their generation, but also regarded by many in the sport, including players, writers and fans, as the greatest of all time. Both players have won a combined 59 trophies (Ronaldo 27, Messi 32) during their careers thus far and have regularly broken the 50 goal barrier in a single season. They're amongst the 28 players in the history of the sport to score over 500 career goals, currently ranked at 6th (Ronaldo) and 7th (Messi) respectively, with both having scored over 680 goals each in their careers for club and country. Sports journalists and pundits regularly argue the individual merits of both players in an attempt to establish who they believe is the best player in modern football. It has been compared to past global sports rivalries such as the Muhammad Ali–Joe Frazier rivalry in boxing, the Federer–Nadal rivalry, Björn Borg–John McEnroe rivalry in tennis and the Ayrton Senna–Alain Prost rivalry in Formula One motor racing.

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi before an international friendly between Argentina and Portugal in Geneva, Switzerland, 9 February 2011

The Ronaldo–Messi rivalry is a football rivalry between fans of Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentinian forward Lionel Messi and supposedly between the athletes themselves. Having won a combined ten Ballon d'Or/FIFA Ballon d'Or awards (5 each), both are widely regarded not only as the two best players of their generation, but also regarded by many in the sport, including players, writers and fans, as the greatest of all time. Both players have won a combined 59 trophies (Ronaldo 27, Messi 32) during their careers thus far and have regularly broken the 50 goal barrier in a single season. They're amongst the 28 players in the history of the sport to score over 500 career goals, currently ranked at 6th (Ronaldo) and 7th (Messi) respectively, with both having scored over 680 goals each in their careers for club and country.[1][2] Sports journalists and pundits regularly argue the individual merits of both players in an attempt to establish who they believe is the best player in modern football.[3][4][5][6][7] It has been compared to past global sports rivalries such as the Muhammad AliJoe Frazier rivalry in boxing, the Federer–Nadal rivalry, Björn Borg–John McEnroe rivalry in tennis and the Ayrton SennaAlain Prost rivalry in Formula One motor racing.[8][9][10]

Some commentators choose to analyse the differing physiques and playing styles of the two[11] while part of the debate revolves around the contrasting personalities of the two players: Ronaldo is sometimes described as someone of temperamental character while Messi is portrayed with reserved character.[12][13][14][15] It could be the case that this is why Messi is considered trustworthier and more likable by the public,[16] even though Ronaldo improved his reputation since 2013.[17]

At club level, Messi and Ronaldo represented rivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, the two players faced each other at least twice every season in the world's most popular regular-season club game, El Clásico (among the most viewed annual sporting events), until Ronaldo's transfer to Italian club Juventus F.C. in 2018.[18][19] Off the field, they are the face of two rival sportswear manufacturers, Messi of Adidas and Ronaldo of Nike, which are also the kit suppliers of their national teams and the opposite for their clubs.[20][21][22] The two highest paid players in football, Messi and Ronaldo are among the world's best paid sports' stars in combined income from salaries, bonuses and off-field earnings. In 2018, Messi edged Ronaldo on Forbes list of the best-paid athletes, earning $111 million, with Ronaldo next at $108 million.[23] They have the two biggest social media followings in the world among sportspeople with a combined 211 million Facebook fans in 2019, Ronaldo having 122 million and Messi 89 million. As well as a combined 270 million followers on Instagram as of 2019, Ronaldo is the most followed individual on the entire service, with over 158 million followers whilst Messi has 112 million followers.[24]

History

In 2007, Ronaldo and Messi finished as runners-up to A.C. Milan's Kaká in both the Ballon d'Or, an award rewarded to the player voted as the best in the world by an international panel of sports journalists; and the FIFA World Player of the Year, an award voted for by coaches and captains of international teams. In an interview that year, Messi was quoted as saying "Cristiano Ronaldo is an extraordinary player and it would be brilliant to be in the same team as him".[25][26]

They first played in a game together when Manchester United were drawn to play Barcelona in the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League semi-finals and were immediately pitted as major rivals.[27][28][29] Ronaldo missed a penalty in the first leg,[30] but United eventually advanced to the final via a Paul Scholes goal.[31] At the end of the year, Ronaldo was awarded the Ballon d'Or and vowed that he would win the award again.[32][33]

The 2009 UEFA Champions League Final was contested between Manchester United and Barcelona on 27 May 2009 at Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy. The match, described as a "dream clash",[34] was again hyped as the latest battle between the two, this time to settle who was the best player in the world;[35][36] Ronaldo claimed he was the better of the two[37] while Messi's club-mate Xavi sided with him.[38] United manager Alex Ferguson was more diplomatic, praising both players as being amongst the world's elite talents.[39][40] Messi, playing in a central role he was unaccustomed to so he would avoid a direct battle with United left-back Patrice Evra,[41] scored Barcelona's second in a 2–0 victory with a header in the 70th minute.[42] Meanwhile, Ronaldo was subdued for much of the game despite some early chances to score and his frustration eventually showed when he was booked for a rash tackle on Carles Puyol.[43][44] However the rivalry ended when Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid to Juventus in Italy

Relationship between Ronaldo and Messi

In a 2015 interview, Ronaldo commented on the rivalry by saying that "I think we push each other sometimes in the competition, this is why the competition is so high"[45] while Ronaldo's manager during his time at Manchester United Alex Ferguson opined that "I don't think the rivalry against each other bothers them. I think they have their own personal pride in terms of wanting to be the best".[46] Messi has denied any rivalry, and blames the media for creating it: "only the media, the press, who wants us to be at loggerheads but I've never fought with Cristiano".[47]

However, it is widely argued and documented that there's an atmosphere of tension between the duo, with Guillem Balagué claiming in Messi that Ronaldo refers to the Argentine counterpart as "motherfucker" behind his back,[48][49] and Luca Caioli saying in his book, Ronaldo: The Obsession for Perfection, that according to his sources, Ronaldo heats up when watching Messi play.[50] In response to claims that he and Messi do not get on well on a personal level, Ronaldo commented: "We don't have a relationship outside the world of football, just as we don't with a lot of other players", before adding that in years to come he hopes they can laugh about it together, stating: "We have to look on this rivalry with a positive spirit, because it's a good thing".[51] On 13 November 2014, Ronaldo also threatened to take legal action over the remarks made by Balagué.[52]

Awards and records

Throughout the existence of the rivalry, the pair have dominated awards ceremonies and broken a multitude of goalscoring records for both club and country, feats which have been described as "incredible", "ridiculous" and "remarkable".[53][54][55] The rivalry itself has been described as one about records and reputation of the players, rather than one based in loathing.[56][57]

Ronaldo is the UEFA Champions League all-time top goalscorer while Messi is second. The two had broken each other's record over the course of 2015 after Messi surpassed the previous record holder Raúl in November 2014.[58] Ronaldo opened a gap in the 2015–16 season when he became the first player to score double figures in the group stage of the Champions League, setting the record at 11 goals.[59] They are the first two players to score 100 goals in UEFA Champions League history.[60]

They dominated the Ballon d'Or/The Best FIFA Men's Player awards since 2008, and UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award since 2014, however, in 2018 their roughly decade-long triumph was ended by Luka Modrić, seen as "end of an era".[61][62][63] However, Modrić stated in an interview for the France Football that "history will say that a Croatian player, representing his small country, won the Ballon d'Or after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who are players at another level. Nobody has the right to compare themselves to them. They are the best in the history of this sport", and did not think it was the end for them.[64]

Player statistics

Club statistics
As of 17 March 2019
Lionel Messi
SeasonLeagueCupEuropeOtherTotal
AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
2004–057110100091
2005–06176216100258
2006–0726142251303617
2007–0828103096004016
2008–09312386129005138
2009–10353431118445347
2010–113331771312235553
2011–123750731114566073
2012–13324654118225060
2013–1431286578204641
2014–153843651310005758
2015–1633265576444941
2016–17343775911215254
2017–18363464106215445
2018–1926294268103739
Total 44441272501311082721674591
Cristiano Ronaldo
SeasonLeagueCupEuropeOtherTotal
AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
2002–03253323000315
2003–04294625000406
2004–05335948000509
2005–063396281004712
2006–07341783113005323
2007–08343133118104942
2008–09331863124215326
2009–1029260067003533
2010–11344087126005453
2011–123846531010215560
2012–133434771212225555
2013–143031631117004751
2014–153548211210525461
2015–163635001216004851
2016–172925211312244642
2017–182726001315434444
2018–1926192074113624
Total 53941771411661251914797597
International statistics
As of 27 March 2018
Lionel Messi[65]
SeasonTournamentQualifiersFriendliesTotal
AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
2005–06313041102
2006–07620042104
2007–08006241103
2008–0900821193
2009–10504021111
2010–11400074114
2011–1200435799
2012–13008544129
2013–14741231117
2014–15610043104
2015–16552133109
2016–1700431053
2017–1841530094
Total 36134421422712865
Cristiano Ronaldo[66]
SeasonTournamentQualifiersFriendliesTotal
AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
2003–04620070132
2004–05008720107
2005–06614052153
2006–0700652085
2007–08317320124
2008–0900403171
2009–10413040111
2010–1100322153
2011–12535541149
2012–1300613394
2013–143147331011
2014–1500452065
2015–16732043136
2016–1742511111014
2017–184444221010
Total 38186550461715485
Hat-tricks
As of 17 March 2019
Lionel Messi
For Against Result Competition Date
Barcelona Real Madrid3–3 (H)2005–06 La Liga10 March 2007
Atlético Madrid3–1 (A)2008–09 Copa del Rey6 January 2009
Tenerife5–0 (A)2009–10 La Liga10 January 2010
Valencia3–0 (H)2009–10 La Liga14 March 2010
Zaragoza4–2 (A)2009–10 La Liga21 March 2010
Arsenal44–1 (H)2009–10 UEFA Champions League6 April 2010
Sevilla4–0 (H)2010 Supercopa de España21 August 2010
Almería8–0 (A)2010–11 La Liga20 November 2010
Real Betis5–0 (H)2010–11 Copa del Rey12 January 2011
Atlético Madrid3–0 (H)2010–11 La Liga5 February 2011
Osasuna8–0 (H)2011–12 La Liga17 September 2011
Atlético Madrid5–0 (H)2011–12 La Liga24 September 2011
Mallorca5–0 (H)2011–12 La Liga29 October 2011
Viktoria Plzeň4–0 (A)2011–12 UEFA Champions League1 November 2011
Málaga4–1 (A)2011–12 La Liga22 January 2012
Valencia45–1 (H)2011–12 La Liga19 February 2012
Argentina Switzerland3–1 (A)Friendly29 February 2012
Barcelona Bayer Leverkusen57–1 (H)2011–12 UEFA Champions League7 March 2012
Granada5–3 (H)2011–12 La Liga2 May 2012
Málaga4–1 (H)2011–12 La Liga5 May 2012
Espanyol44–0 (H)2011–12 La Liga20 March 2012
Argentina Brazil4–3 (N)Friendly9 June 2012
Barcelona Deportivo La Coruña5–4 (A)2012–13 La Liga20 October 2012
Osasuna45–1 (H)2012–13 La Liga27 January 2013
Argentina Guatemala4–0 (A)Friendly14 June 2013
Barcelona Valencia43–2 (A)2013–14 La Liga1 September 2013
Ajax4–0 (H)2013–14 UEFA Champions League18 September 2013
Osasuna7–0 (H)2013–14 La Liga16 March 2014
Real Madrid4–3 (A)2013–14 La Liga23 March 2014
Sevilla5–1 (H)2014–15 La Liga22 November 2014
APOEL4–0 (H)2014–15 UEFA Champions League18 September 2013
Espanyol5–1 (H)2014–15 La Liga7 December 2014
Deportivo La Coruña4–0 (A)2014–15 La Liga18 January 2015
Levante5–0 (H)2014–15 La Liga15 February 2015
Rayo Vallecano6–1 (H)2014–15 La Liga15 March 2015
Granada4–0 (H)2015–16 La Liga9 January 2016
Valencia7–0 (H)2015–16 Copa del Rey3 February 2016
Rayo Vallecano5–1 (A)2015–16 La Liga3 March 2016
Argentina Panama5–0 (N)Copa América Centenario10 June 2016
Barcelona Celtic7–0 (H)2016–17 UEFA Champions League13 September 2016
Manchester City4–0 (H)2016–17 UEFA Champions League19 October 2016
Espanyol5–0 (H)2017–18 La Liga9 September 2017
Eibar46–1 (H)2017–18 La Liga19 September 2017
Argentina Ecuador3–1 (A)2018 FIFA World Cup qualification10 October 2017
Barcelona Leganés3–1 (H)2017–18 La Liga7 April 2018
Deportivo La Coruña4–2 (A)2017–18 La Liga29 April 2018
Argentina Haiti4–0 (H)Friendly29 May 2018
Barcelona PSV Eindhoven4–0 (H)2018–19 UEFA Champions League18 September 2018
Levante5–0 (A)2018–19 La Liga16 December 2018
Sevilla4–2 (A)2018–19 La Liga23 February 2019
Real Betis4–1 (A)2018–19 La Liga17 March 2019
Cristiano Ronaldo
For Against Result Competition Date
Manchester United Newcastle United6–0 (H)2007–08 Premier League12 January 2008
Real Madrid Mallorca4–1 (A)2009–10 La Liga5 May 2010
Racing Santander46–1 (H)2010–11 La Liga23 October 2010
Athletic Bilbao5–1 (H)2010–11 La Liga20 November 2010
Levante8–0 (h)2010–11 Copa del Rey22 December 2010
Villarreal4–2 (H)2010–11 La Liga9 January 2011
Málaga7–0 (H)2010–11 La Liga3 March 2011
Sevilla46–2 (A)2010–11 La Liga7 May 2011
Getafe4–0 (H)2010–11 La Liga10 May 2011
Zaragoza6–0 (A)2011–12 La Liga28 August 2011
Rayo Vallecano46–2 (H)2011–12 La Liga24 September 2011
Málaga4–0 (A)2011–12 La Liga22 October 2011
Osasuna7–1 (H)2011–12 La Liga6 November 2011
Sevilla6–2 (A)2011–12 La Liga17 December 2011
Levante4–2 (H)2011–12 La Liga12 February 2012
Atlético Madrid4–1 (A)2011–12 La Liga11 April 2012
Deportivo La Coruña5–1 (H)2012–13 La Liga30 September 2012
Ajax4–1 (A)2012–13 UEFA Champions League18 September 2012
Celta Vigo4–0 (H)2012–13 Copa del Rey9 January 2013
Getafe4–0 (H)2012–13 La Liga27 January 2013
Sevilla4–1 (H)2012–13 La Liga9 February 2013
Portugal Northern Ireland4–2 (A)2014 FIFA World Cup qualification6 September 2013
Real Madrid Galatasaray6–1 (A)2013–14 UEFA Champions League17 September 2013
Sevilla7–3 (H)2013–14 La Liga30 October 2013
Real Sociedad5–1 (H)2013–14 La Liga9 November 2013
Portugal Sweden3–2 (A)2014 FIFA World Cup qualificationNovember 19, 2013
Real Madrid Deportivo La Coruña8–2 (A)2014–15 La Liga20 September 2014
Elche45–1 (H)2014–15 La Liga23 September 2014
Athletic Bilbao5–0 (H)2014–15 La Liga5 October 2014
Celta Vigo3–0 (H)2014–15 La Liga6 December 2014
Granada59–1 (H)2014–15 La Liga5 April 2015
Sevilla3–2 (A)2014–15 La Liga2 May 2015
Espanyol3–1 (A)2014–15 La Liga17 May 2015
Getafe7–3 (H)2014–15 La Liga23 May 2015
Portugal Armenia3–2 (A)UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying19 November 2013
Real Madrid Espanyol56–0 (A)2015–16 La Liga12 September 2015
Shakhtar Donetsk4–0 (H)2015–16 UEFA Champions League15 September 2015
Malmö FF48–0 (H)2015–16 UEFA Champions League8 December 2015
Espanyol6–0 (H)2015–16 La Liga31 January 2016
Celta Vigo47–1 (H)2015–16 La Liga5 March 2016
VfL Wolfsburg3–0 (H)2015–16 UEFA Champions League12 April 2016
Portugal Andorra6–0 (H)2018 FIFA World Cup qualification7 October 2016
Real Madrid Alavés4–1 (A)2016–17 La Liga29 October 2016
Atlético Madrid3–0 (A)2016–17 La Liga19 November 2016
Kashima Antlers4–2 (N)2016 FIFA Club World Cup18 December 2016
Bayern Munich4–2 (H)2016–17 UEFA Champions League18 April 2017
Atlético Madrid3–0 (H)2016–17 UEFA Champions League2 May 2017
Portugal Faroe Islands5–1 (H)2018 FIFA World Cup qualification31 August 2017
Real Madrid Real Sociedad5–2 (H)2017–18 La Liga10 February 2018
Girona46–3 (H)2017–18 La Liga18 March 2018
Portugal Spain3–3 (N)2018 FIFA World Cup15 June 2018
Juventus Atlético Madrid3–0 (H)2018–19 UEFA Champions League12 March 2019

4 or 5 Player scored 4 or 5 goals

Head-to-head

In recent years, it has been said that the rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona has been "encapsulated" by the individual rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi,[67][68] with neither player ever participating in a goalless El Clásico.[69]

Legend
Final
Semi-final
No.DateCompetitionHome teamAway teamScoreGoals scored by the duo
1 23 April 2008 Champions League Barcelona Manchester United 0–0
2 29 April 2008 Champions League Manchester United Barcelona 1–0
3 27 May 2009 Champions League Barcelona Manchester United 2–0 Messi ( 70')
4 29 November 2009 La Liga Barcelona Real Madrid 1–0
5 10 April 2010 La Liga Real Madrid Barcelona 0–2 Messi ( 33')
6 29 November 2010 La Liga Barcelona Real Madrid 5–0
7 9 February 2011 Friendly Argentina Portugal 2–1 Ronaldo ( 21'), Messi ( 90' (pen.))
8 16 April 2011 La Liga Real Madrid Barcelona 1–1 Messi ( 51' (pen.)), Ronaldo ( 81' (pen.))
9 20 April 2011 Copa del Rey Real Madrid Barcelona 1–0 (a.e.t.) Ronaldo ( 103')
10 27 April 2011 Champions League Real Madrid Barcelona 0–2 Messi ( 76', 87')
11 3 May 2011 Champions League Barcelona Real Madrid 1–1
12 14 August 2011 Supercopa de España Real Madrid Barcelona 2–2 Messi ( 45')
13 17 August 2011 Supercopa de España Barcelona Real Madrid 3–2 Ronaldo ( 20'), Messi ( 53', 88')
14 10 December 2011 La Liga Real Madrid Barcelona 1–3
15 18 January 2012 Copa del Rey Real Madrid Barcelona 1–2 Ronaldo ( 11')
16 25 January 2012 Copa del Rey Barcelona Real Madrid 2–2 Ronaldo ( 68')
17 21 April 2012 La Liga Barcelona Real Madrid 1–2 Ronaldo ( 73')
18 23 August 2012 Supercopa de España Barcelona Real Madrid 3–2 Ronaldo ( 55'), Messi ( 70' (pen.))
19 29 August 2012 Supercopa de España Real Madrid Barcelona 2–1 Ronaldo ( 19'), Messi ( 45')
20 7 October 2012 La Liga Barcelona Real Madrid 2–2 Ronaldo ( 23', 66'), Messi ( 31', 61')
21 30 January 2013 Copa del Rey Real Madrid Barcelona 1–1
22 26 February 2013 Copa del Rey Barcelona Real Madrid 1–3 Ronaldo ( 12', 57')
23 2 March 2013 La Liga Real Madrid Barcelona 2–1 Messi ( 18')
24 26 October 2013 La Liga Barcelona Real Madrid 2–1
25 23 March 2014 La Liga Real Madrid Barcelona 3–4 Messi ( 42', 65' (pen.), 84' (pen.)), Ronaldo ( 55' (pen.))
26 25 October 2014 La Liga Real Madrid Barcelona 3–1 Ronaldo ( 35' (pen.))
27 18 November 2014 Friendly Argentina Portugal 0–1
28 22 March 2015 La Liga Barcelona Real Madrid 2–1 Ronaldo ( 31')
29 21 November 2015 La Liga Real Madrid Barcelona 0–4
30 2 April 2016 La Liga Barcelona Real Madrid 1–2 Ronaldo ( 85')
31 3 December 2016 La Liga Barcelona Real Madrid 1–1
32 23 April 2017 La Liga Real Madrid Barcelona 2–3 Messi ( 33', 90+2')
33 13 August 2017 Supercopa de España Barcelona Real Madrid 1–3 Messi ( 77' (pen.)), Ronaldo ( 80')
34 23 December 2017 La Liga Real Madrid Barcelona 0–3 Messi ( 64' (pen.))
35 6 May 2018 La Liga Barcelona Real Madrid 2–2 Ronaldo ( 14'), Messi ( 52')

Results

Competition Games played Messi wins Draws Ronaldo wins Messi goals Ronaldo goals
La Liga 181044119
Champions League 722134
Copa del Rey 512205
Supercopa de España 521264
Friendly 210111
Total matches35169102119

Last updated 6 May 2018

References

Notes
    Citations
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