Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Every year's top international scorer since 2005

Argentina v Portugal - International Friendly

Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 99 goals for Portugal. Seriously.

By lashing home from a matter of centimetres against Luxembourg, Ronaldo is now just one strike away from a century of international goals and just ten behind Ali Daei's long-standing record.

It also adds another argument to the long-standing Lionel Messi debate.

One of the biggest points in favour of Ronaldo is his superior international repertoire, no less because he's won the European Championships and UEFA Nations League.

And now that his goal-scoring record is better than Messi's by 30, it's inevitable that supporters will crown Ronaldo as the greatest international player of all time if nothing else.

Ronaldo moves to 99 goals

However, something that always has to be considered whenever Ronaldo vs Messi is discussed is the fact that the latter is two years younger.

In other words, would the trophy and goal statistics actually be much closer if Messi had the advantage of catching up over 24 months? It's certainly worth discussing.

But in the absence of a crystal ball that would answer that question, we've decided to use another tactic to compare Ronaldo and Messi's international records by putting them head to head.

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Ronaldo vs Messi (2005-2019)

Using statistics on Transfermarkt, we've calculated which of the two players scored the most goals in every year since 2005, which is when Messi made his debut for Argentina.

In the end, one player got the better of the other on double the amount of occasions and you can check out the full breakdown below:

2005: Cristiano Ronaldo 2-0 Lionel Messi

2006: Cristiano Ronaldo 6-2 Lionel Messi

Portugal v Slovakia

2007: Cristiano Ronaldo 5-6 Lionel Messi

2008: Cristiano Ronaldo 1-2 Lionel Messi

2009: Cristiano Ronaldo 1-3 Lionel Messi

Argentina v Venezuela - 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

2010: Cristiano Ronaldo 3-2 Lionel Messi

2011: Cristiano Ronaldo 7-4 Lionel Messi

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo cel

2012: Cristiano Ronaldo 5-12 Lionel Messi

2013: Cristiano Ronaldo 10-6 Lionel Messi

2014: Cristiano Ronaldo 5-8 Lionel Messi

Nigeria v Argentina: Group F - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

2015: Cristiano Ronaldo 5-4 Lionel Messi

2016: Cristiano Ronaldo 13-8 Lionel Messi

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2017: Cristiano Ronaldo 11-4 Lionel Messi

2018: Cristiano Ronaldo 6-4 Lionel Messi

2019: Cristiano Ronaldo 14-4 Lionel Messi

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Final score: Cristiano Ronaldo 10-5 Lionel Messi

There you have it, Ronaldo has managed to outscore his rival in a decade's worth of years, whereas Messi has only achieved the feat on five occasions.

And the most emphatic victory has actually come in 2019 with Ronaldo scoring two hat-trick against Lithuania, including an extra strike in the first, as well as a treble versus Switzerland.

Messi did enjoy a similar win during a 2012 where he notched up 12 goals for Argentina, only to suffer defeat for five consecutive and six of the last seven years.

So, say what you like about the Ronaldo vs Messi debate - and this, by the way, most definitely doesn't settle it - but there can be no doubting that CR7 is top dog on the international stage.

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