Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Stats show who had the better decade

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s decade in football has come to an end.

Messi ended 2019 on a positive note, scoring in Barcelona’s comfortable 4-1 victory over Alaves.

But while Messi’s last game of the decade was pretty much perfect, the same cannot be said about Ronaldo’s.

The Portuguese forward was aiming to win his first trophy of the season against Lazio in the Italian Super Cup.

But he failed to score as his side slumped to a 3-1 victory.

The two footballing greats have battled for supremacy throughout this decade.

We’ve decided to look at their stats to see who has enjoyed more success over the past 10 years.

Club goals:

Lionel Messi 522 – 478 Cristiano Ronaldo

Messi comes out on top by over 40 goals from his eternal rival but, let’s be clear, both these tallies are absolutely insane.

Messi has averaged over 52 goals-per-year, while Ronaldo is averaging just under 48-goals-per-year.

Ridiculous numbers. 

Messi’s best year for his club came in 2012, where he racked up an astonishing 79 club goals.

Ronaldo’s best year was in 2013, where he scored 59 times for Real Madrid.

Assists (club only):

Lionel Messi 205 – 140 Cristiano Ronaldo

Again, these are just ridiculous numbers. 

Ronaldo was keeping pace with his rival, but the number of assists he gets ever year has declined as he has got older. 

Club trophies:

Lionel Messi 23 – 17 Cristiano Ronaldo

Messi gets one over his rival once again.

The Argentine won 23 trophies with Barcelona, including seven La Liga titles.

Ronaldo won just three league titles (two La Liga’s and one Serie A title) but has the bragging rights when it comes to Champions League’s.

Ronaldo won the Champions League an impressive four times (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018) this decade, compared to Messi’s two (2011 and 2015).

International goals:

Cristiano Ronaldo 77 – 57 Lionel Messi

While the stats point towards Messi having more success than Ronaldo for their club’s, Ronaldo has been way better on the international scene.

The Portuguese forward scored an incredible 77 times for his country this decade, 20 more than the tally Messi recorded for Argentina.

International trophies:

Cristiano Ronaldo 2-0 Lionel Messi

While the GOAT of club football is up for debate, there’s no doubt that Ronaldo is the GOAT of international football.

Ronaldo helped his side to two trophies: Euro 2016 and the 2019 UEFA Nations League.

Messi, on the other hand, has been largely frustrated playing for Argentina.

He’s come so close to lifting a title for Argentina, but not close enough.

He has lost three finals with his nation this decade: the 2014 World Cup, as well as losing the Copa America final in both 2015 and 2016.

Ballon d’Or trophies:

Lionel Messi 5 – 4 Cristiano Ronaldo

In terms of Ballon d’Or trophies, the two were level… until Messi won his fifth of the decade this year.

Overall rating (out of 10):

Lionel Messi 8.62 – 8.05 Cristiano Ronaldo have recently been going through every club’s team of the decade using stats in both the league and European football.

Messi has recorded a rating of 8.62 for Barcelona.

Ronaldo’s 8.17 rating for Real Madrid and 7.58 rating for Juventus means he has has a rating of 8.05 this decade.

Final tally: Lionel Messi 5-2 Cristiano Ronaldo

So, from the categories above, it can be said that Messi has enjoyed more success than Ronaldo this decade when it comes to club football.

But, when it comes to international football, there can only be one winner: Ronaldo.

With both of their careers coming to an end, let’s hope we can enjoy both of them for as long as possible next decade.

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