Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Who has scored the most non-penalty goals each season?

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The Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debate seems older than time itself.

I wouldn't be surprised if Socrates and Plato were at each other's throats however many thousands of years ago over whether Messi's subpar heading ability is a deal-breaker in the debate.

In fact, something tells me that humans invented the Twitter thread as a way of comparing the serial Ballon d'Or-winning juggernauts long before fire, the wheel and tools.

Ronaldo vs Messi drags on

But let's put the 100% scientifically-proven historical facts aside for one second and ask ourselves a genuine question: is there possibly a way Ronaldo and Messi haven't been compared yet?

Given the seemingly infinite amount of statistics available to football fans nowadays, you'd think so, but we're not so sure having seen Ronaldo and Messi put to the test so many times.

I mean, their WhoScored.com and Transfermarkt profiles must be some people's most-visited sites and many fans can probably recite how many goals they scored each season off by heart.

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How to settle the debate

That's not to mention the fact that various studies by statistical bodies and even universities have been carried out to answer the eternal, never-ending question itself.

Christ, Bleacher Report even sought to find out who would win an MMA fight, WWE clash and Formula 1 Grand Prix to get a gauge of which sportsperson is more talented.

Now, I promise we're not here to simulate Ronaldo vs Messi on the Great British Bake Off or communicate with ghosts to see who supernatural forces prefer... none of that silliness.

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Non-penalty goal statistics

Rather, we've decided to hone in on the infamous sticking point of penalties and just how much Bruno Fernandes' favourite pastime contributes to Ronaldo and Messi's statistics.

After all, Messi is on the back of scoring a spot kick winner for Argentina and seldom does a day go by without comment sections being flooded with the word 'Penaldo' to smear his rival.

But all credit to Twitter user @Bayionel because they have compared Messi and Ronaldo's goal-scoring tallies season by season since 2008/09 with their penalty conversions removed.

In other words, there's no penalty spot to hide behind and to say the statistics are interesting would be an understatement, so do yourself a favour and check them out down below:

GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

I really would love to say that Messi is the greatest player of all time and Ronaldo is the greatest goalscorer of all time.

In fact, I'm very much of the opinion that we should celebrate both players for all their brilliance while they're still playing and it certainly reads as an elegant solution to the sport's biggest debate.

But I can't let that answer slide because it's simply not true and the non-penalty statistics only go further towards proving that Messi is the greatest goalscorer of all time to boot. 

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All the respect in the world to Ronaldo for his incredible achievements in front of goal and I'll be the first person to admit that his international and Champions League careers are stronger.

But the statistics don't lie and the fact of the matter is that Messi is clearly the better goalscorer.

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