Ronaldo vs Messi: Which player has scored the most international goals each year?

Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have scored goals for fun on international duty

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are two of the greatest to ever have played international football.

The former is one of only two players to have scored 100 goals for their country, while the latter is Argentina's all time leading goal scorer with 71 strikes in all competitions.

In terms of trophies won, Ronaldo is clear of his eternal rival, winning Euro 2016 and the 2019 UEFA Nations League with Portugal.

Messi has experienced heartbreak three times with Argentina, losing in the finals of the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Copa America and the 2016 Copa America.

As such, Ronaldo is revered as the superior international player between the pair and it's hard to argue against that analogy.

Ronaldo & Messi

To try and further prove the Portuguese's dominance over his Argentine foe, we've decided to take a look at which player has scored the most goals in each year both have been playing senior football for their country.

Ronaldo made his Portugal debut in 2003, while Messi didn't play for Argentina until 2005, so naturally we have only used the 14 years since the latter's debut for our comparison.

But we do have to point out that Ronaldo scored seven goals in just 16 international games in 2004, an outrageous return given he was just 19-years-old.

Ronaldo at Euro 2004

2005

Ronaldo | 11 games | 2 goals

Messi | 5 games | 0 goals

Winner: Ronaldo

2006

Ronaldo | 14 games | 6 goals

Messi | 7 games | 2 goals

Winner: Ronaldo

2007

Ronaldo | 10 games | 5 goals

Messi | 14 games | 6 goals

Winner: Messi

Messi with Argentina in 2007

2008

Ronaldo | 8 games | 1 goal

Messi | 8 games | 2 goals

Winner: Messi

2009

Ronaldo | 7 games | 1 goal

Messi | 10 games | 3 goals

Winner: Messi

2010

Ronaldo | 11 games | 3 goals

Messi | 10 games | 2 goals

Winner: Ronaldo

Ronaldo at the 2010 World Cup

2011

Ronaldo | 8 games | 7 goals

Messi | 13 games | 4 goals

Winner: Ronaldo

2012

Ronaldo | 13 games | 5 goals

Messi | 9 games | 12 goals

Winner: Messi

2013

Ronaldo | 9 games | 10 goals

Messi | 7 games | 6 goals

Winner: Ronaldo

Ronaldo with Portugal in 2013

2014

Ronaldo | 9 games | 5 goals

Messi | 14 games | 8 goals

Winner: Messi

2015

Ronaldo | 5 games | 3 goals

Messi | 8 games | 4 goals

Winner: Messi

2016

Ronaldo | 13 games | 13 goals

Messi | 11 games | 8 goals

Winner: Ronaldo

Ronaldo after winning Euro 2016

2017

Ronaldo | 11 games | 11 goals

Messi | 7 games | 4 goals

Winner: Ronaldo

2018

Ronaldo | 7 games | 6 goals

Messi | 5 games | 4 goals

Winner: Ronaldo

2019

Ronaldo | 10 games | 14 goals

Messi | 10 games | 5 goals

Winner: Ronaldo

Ronaldo with the UEFA Nations League trophy

Final result

Ronaldo: 9

Messi: 5

After a small burst from Messi between 2012 and 2015 - the Argentine winning three times in four years - Ronaldo is confirmed as the dominant force between the pair on the international scene.

The Portuguese's prolificness for his country has increased with age, his best year coming in 2019 when he scored 14 times in just 10 games.

It's simple, Ronaldo is the greatest international footballer of all time and he has not even needed to win a World Cup to secure that label.

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