Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Stats answer the debate each season since 2010/11

  • Kobe Tong
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Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the biggest debate in all of sport.

While there’s no denying that the Barcelona and Juventus stars are amongst the greatest footballers in history, football fans just can’t resist trying to work out which of them has the upper hand.

Don’t worry, dear readers, we’re not trying to be righteous about the situation because we’re as partial as the next supporter when it comes to comparing Ronaldo and Messi every 10 seconds.

Ronaldo vs Messi debate

And there’s arguably never a more logical time to put the serial Ballon d’Or winners under the microscope than at the end of their respective club seasons.

Here at GIVEMESPORT, we have already compared Messi and Ronaldo’s 2020/21 statistics but now, we wanted to see how they factored into the pair’s legendary careers as a whole.

To achieve that, we’ve turned to the data gurus at WhoScored.com and their average match ratings, which span entire seasons and are informed by a wide range of data sets each and every game.

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Ronaldo vs Messi: The statistical answer

As a result, it’s arguably the most thorough way to compare Messi and Ronaldo across the years as far as statistics are concerned, so that’s exactly what we’ve sought to do.

The data goes as far back as the 2010/11 season and only concerns league football, though the result is very similar in the Champions League if you want to analyse that data as well.

But without further ado, be sure to check out the statistical answer to the never-ending Messi vs Ronaldo debate for each season since 2010/11 down below:

2010/11

Lionel Messi – 8.8

Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.3

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2011/12

Lionel Messi – 8.9

Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.3

2012/13

Lionel Messi – 8.8

Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.2

2013/14

Lionel Messi – 8.3

Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.3

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2014/15

Lionel Messi – 8.8

Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.5

2015/16

Lionel Messi – 8.5

Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.0

2016/17

Lionel Messi – 8.5

Cristiano Ronaldo – 7.6

2017/18

Lionel Messi – 8.7

Cristiano Ronaldo – 7.9

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2018/19

Lionel Messi – 8.5

Cristiano Ronaldo – 7.7

2019/20

Lionel Messi – 8.7

Cristiano Ronaldo – 7.8

2020/21 

Lionel Messi – 8.5

Cristiano Ronaldo – 7.6

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Final score: Lionel Messi 10.5 – 0.5 Cristiano Ronaldo

Oh. My. Goodness. Me.

It couldn’t possibly be any clearer that Messi has the upper hand over his eternal rival when it comes to the statistics because the 2013/14 season is the only year in which he didn’t take the victory.

And even then, the fact that Messi managed to hold his own against a prime Ronaldo is nothing short of staggering and means that the Barcelona star is 10 seasons clear of his contemporary.

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Now, obviously, the elephant in the room here is that statistics really aren’t everything and it’s a pretty hard argument to suggest that Ronaldo hasn’t bested Messi at all over the last decade.

And it does go without saying that Messi’s more rounded brand of football, regularly amassing more assists, gets him some brownie points with the statisticians.

However, when the margin of victory is so enormous, you’ll forgive us for thinking that Messi would still have the advantage regardless of those caveats.

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