Lionel Messi has a far better disciplinary record compared to Cristiano Ronaldo


Lionel Messi has only received two red cards in his career with Barcelona and Argentina.

Sure, we're not pretending that the 32-year-old is some kind of saint on the football pitch, but only two dismissals across 16 years is a pretty impressive record.

Bizarrely, both those red cards have come on Argentina duties, with the first arriving on his debut and seeing him given his marching orders after just 43 seconds.

The most recent example from this weekend was equally as memorable and saw Messi dismissed for a clash with Gary Medel in which he seemed to do nothing wrong.

The Barcelona star did indeed push his opponent, but claims of a 'very nasty stamp' and the referee citing a should-barge seem questionable at best.

Messi sent off vs Chile

A brief lapse in his disciplinary record aside, though, it seems another intriguing opportunity to make comparisons with his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Don't get us wrong, how many yellow cards they collect isn't going to settle the GOAT (greatest of all-time debate), yet it's certainly an intriguing contrast to draw.

Ronaldo definitely has the reputation for being the dirtier player, but how far behind is Messi really and how does the comparison stack up when we look at the statistics?


Comparing Ronaldo and Messi's records

Well, using data from Transfermarkt, we've tallied up every single yellow and red card that Messi and Ronaldo have ever received as well as all their respective suspensions.

It would be fair to say that the stereotype is somewhat correct, with Ronaldo picking up five times as many red cards and spending six times as long suspended from games.

Check out the full statistical breakdown below:

Cristiano Ronaldo

Red cards: 11
Yellow cards: 120
Total games suspended: 24

Lionel Messi

Red cards: 2
Yellow cards: 77
Total games suspended: 4

The closest they come to one another is actually in the yellow card department, but Messi has never received two in one game, whereas Ronaldo has done just that on four occasions. 

So, it's pretty clear that Ronaldo isn't exactly an angel compared to his Barcelona rival and you only need make a few comparisons to see that it isn't ideal in general. 

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Supercopa de Espana: 1st Leg

The 34-year-old has the same amount of career red cards as Pepe and Diego Costa, while completely eclipsing the number of dismissals Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have picked up.

Therefore, while Messi will be taking the flack for his red card this weekend, he can at least reassure himself that Ronaldo is already eight dismissals ahead of the game.

Who do you think is the greatest player in history? Have your say in the comments section below.

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