All you need to know about the Messi vs Ronaldo rivalry, from their careers in club football to the international stage. The two icons of football will meet for what could be the final time on Thursday (19 January).
Thursday (19 January) will see the latest installment of one of football’s greatest rivalries.
For years, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have battled it out to be considered the best player in the world.
While in the eyes of many that debate was settled on December 18 when Messi lifted the World Cup, for some it’s still up for debate, and for others, there is no emulating Ronaldo’s legacy.
Regardless of who is considered the greatest of all time, there is no denying that this rivalry is one for the ages and we may never see two formidable talents go toe-to-toe like this again, or at least for a long time.
In two days’ time, the pair will face off for one more time when PSG travels to Riyadh to take on the Saudi All-Star XI (made up of Al Nassr and Al-Hilal players).
While Messi is still playing for the Parisians, Ronaldo recently completed a move to Al Nassr following the mutual termination of his Manchester United contract.
Ahead of that friendly encounter, we’re taking a look back on both careers and how they compare…
When Lio met Cristiano: What happened last time?
Across both domestic and international ties, the duo have met each other 36 times – the first of which came in the Champions League while Ronaldo was still a Manchester United player in his first stint there back in 2008.
That game ended in a draw, and United went on to win the second leg, but the Catalan club took their revenge the following year when they beat Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in the Champions League final, prompting Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid.
They would then spend the next nine years in La Liga and domestic Spanish competitions before Ronaldo left the league first with a move to Juventus.
2020 would mark the last match between the two – at least until Thursday – and this time Ronaldo would get the better of his rival when Juventus knocked Barça out of the UCL. The infamous no.7 was on course to bury two penalties in an away group game.
As of right now, Messi leads the way with 16 wins to Ronaldo’s 11 – but both have had their fair share of goal involvements throughout the years.
|Messi vs Ronaldo against each other…|
Players with the most hat-tricks without penalties:
🇦🇷 Aguero – 10
🇵🇱 Lewandowski – 16
🇺🇾 Suarez – 21
🇵🇹 Ronaldo – 28
🇦🇷 Messi – 42
Lionel Messi is the only one on the list who isn't a striker… 😅 pic.twitter.com/jAc5a5ppbh
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) January 11, 2023
Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Head-to-head stats
The numbers behind each of them are both extraordinary…
|Lionel Messi||Matches Played||Goals||Assists|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Matches Played||Goals||Assists|
Lionel Messi vs Kylian Mbappe: Team and individual honors
When it comes to football, statistics only tell a fraction of the story; these two players are a prime example of that.
Their influence on their team is evident, and it doesn’t always go unnoticed. So let’s take a look at the trophy triumphs they’ve been integral to…
Team | Individual
- FIFA: Best Men’s Player(2019, 2009)
- Ballon d’Or(2021, 2019, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009)
- UEFA: Best Player in Europe(2015, 2011, 2009)
- 3x FIFA Club World Cup
- 2x World Cup Golden Ball winner (2014, 2022)
- 1x Copa America (International)
- 4x Champions League winner
- 10x La Liga Champion
- 1x Ligue 1 Champion
- 3x UEFA Super Cup winner
- 7x Spanish Cup winner
- 8x Spanish Super Cup winner
- 1x French Cup winner
- 1x French Super Cup winner
- 1x U20 World Cup winner
- 1x Olympic Gold Medalist
- 1x CONMEBOL Uefa Cup of Champions winner (International)
Team | Individual
- FIFA: Best Men’s Player(2017, 2016)
- Ballon d’Or(2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2009)
- UEFA: Best Player in Europe(2017, 2016, 2014, 2008)
- Puskas Award Winner(2009)
- 1x European Champion (International)
- 5x Champions League winner
- 4x FIFA Club World Cup winner
- 3x Premier League winner
- 2x Spanish Champion
- 2x Italian Champion
- 1x UEFA Nations League winner (International)
- 1x UEFA Super Cup winner
- 1x FA Cup winner
- 2x Spanish Cup winner
- 2x English Cup winner
- 2x Italian Super Cup winner
- 2x Community Shield winner
- 1x Portugese Super Cup winner
For what could be the final time, Messi and Ronaldo go head-to-head on Thursday (19 January) when PSG takes on the Saudi All-Star XI.
That game is scheduled for a 20:00 local time kick-off, which is 17:00 GMT and 18:00 CET.
BeIN Sports will be showing it live on their channels across the world, and PSG will also be showing it on their club website for fans.
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