Cristiano Ronaldo trumps Lionel Messi for goals in competitive international games


Want to know how to split a room of football fans in half? Ask them about the Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debate.

We're all blessed to watch football in an era where the two best players are so closely matched and supporters are never too far away from a heated argument about which forward is better.

It all depends on the metrics you're using. For some, the statistics will always decide who is the top dog, but others will judge it off the pure viewing experience of their playing style.

However, something that will always be brought into the debate is their performance on the international stage and particularly major competitions.

After all, a massive part of players like Diego Maradona and Pele being considered in the GOAT (greatest of all-time) debate is because of their success with their countries.

Messi vs Ronaldo internationally

Both Messi and Ronaldo have impressive individual records, but most would agree that the latter - bolstered by his Euro 2016 victory - has the upper-hand in this department.

The contrast has been made especially clear in recent weeks, too, with Ronaldo shining in the UEFA Nations League and bagging his second piece of international silverware.

Meanwhile, Messi has gotten off to the worst possible start in the Copa America, suffering a 2-0 defeat against Colombia and sitting rock bottom in Group G.


Ronaldo 71-35 Messi

The contrast doesn't end there, though, and it seems that Ronaldo has the edge on his rival when it comes to individual performances on the big stage, also.

That's because the eye-opening statistic has emerged that Ronaldo has scored more than double the amount of competitive international goals that Messi has.

When friendlies are taken into considerable, Ronaldo leads by a score of 88-67 but the statistics yawn to a massive 71-35 when only competitive matches are counted.

The Portuguese has scored 37 times in World Cup finals and qualifying, 29 times in Euro finals and qualifying, twice in the Confederations Cup and three times in the Nations League.

By contrast, Messi has found the net on 27 occasions in World Cup finals and qualifying, but has amassed just eight goals at the Copa America.

It must be admitted that Ronaldo has had far more opportunities than Messi, yet the huge deficit between the two players shows more is going on than just that. 

Germany v Argentina: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final

Messi can at least claim to have scored more goals in friendlies at a score of 32-17, although we're not quite sure that's a statistic to be shouting about.

While there might never be an easier answer to Ronaldo vs Messi, the debate will always favour the former when it comes to the international game. Sorry, Lionel.

Who do you think is the better player - Ronaldo or Messi? Have your say in the comments section below.

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