Lionel Messi matches Cristiano Ronaldo stat in huge update for the GOAT debate

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Lionel Messi was playing football to an intergalactic standard for Barcelona this weekend.

After making what many deemed to be a 'slow start' to his 2020/21 campaign, you'd be hard-pressed to argue that his season was going poorly after an astonishing display against Alaves.

Not only did Messi score twice during Barcelona's 5-1 win in La Liga, but he did so with two strikes of an astonishing nature, finding the net from outside the penalty area on both occasions.

Messi thrives vs Alaves

In fact, there's good reason to think that the Barcelona star is the world's best player on current form with Robert Lewandowski perhaps the only competitor with a horse in that race.

But come on, it's Messi we're talking about, so it's inevitable that his latest masterclass has conjured up comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo in some capacity and Saturday night was no different.

Truth be told, given the sheer amount of data and records floating around social medal these days, it feels as though the two serial Ballon d'Or winners make history on a weekly basis.

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Messi vs Ronaldo

But for all the 'most pre-assists when coming off the bench at Eibar' statistics, there are occasionally numerical updates that have a genuinely large bearing on the Messi vs Ronaldo debate.

And that's exactly what happened on the back of Messi's display against Alaves and it could change the way that thousands of football fans come to view the GOAT (greatest of all-time) conversation.

According to michelacosta.com, the self-proclaimed largest statistical study of Ronaldo vs Messi on the internet, Messi's brace means that he has now scored 573 goals from open play in his career.

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Level on goals from open play

Now, you'd imagine that Ronaldo has a far greater tally than that because, well, he's two years older than his rival and it would therefore hardly be a criticism of Messi to point that out.

Only, that's not true because Ronaldo has also scored 573 career goals from open play, meaning that Messi has been able to match his tally in 145 fewer games and two fewer years.

Yes, Ronaldo has scored more career goals in general with 763 strikes compared to Messi's 723, but he's scored one more goal from free-kicks and crucially, 38 more times from penalties.

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Bragging rights for Messi

Now, obviously, this brings in the classic point of 'well, what's Ronaldo supposed to do: stop taking penalties or deliberately miss them?'

And while, yes, you can hardly criticise Ronaldo for scoring so many penalties, it can't be denied that the statistics essentially show that Messi is more lethal from open play regardless.

Besides, the moral of the story here is that Messi could literally go on a 144-game goal drought for club and country and would still have a better goal-scoring ratio than Ronaldo currently has.

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