Lionel Messi is celebrating his 34th birthday.
Messi turns 34
In many ways, it's actually pretty saddening whenever Messi's birthday comes around because it always makes for the painful realisation that he's edging ever closer towards retirement.
Now, don't get it twisted, the Barcelona superstar won't be hanging up his boots any time soon, but even a legendary footballer like himself can't go on forever and forever.
That being said, one way in which we can console ourselves about the potential longevity of Messi's career is by looking at the example set by his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
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Messi and Ronaldo's age gap
You only have to look at the Juventus icon smashing home five goals for Portugal at Euro 2020 to see that performing at the highest level in your mid-thirties in more than achievable.
However, pause that thought for a second and let's focus in on the fact that Ronaldo is indeed two years older than Messi. It's an obvious fact, sure, but one that's vital in their never-ending debate.
Although it's not Ronaldo's fault that he has a head start, it does mean that whenever their statistics are compared that they must come with the understanding that Messi trails by two years.
That is, of course, unless we manipulate the data to imagine a world in which Messi and Ronaldo's career were running parallel, which is exactly what we've done to mark the former's birthday.
Comparing Messi and Ronaldo at 34
To do that, we're winding back the clock for Ronaldo to see what his career statistics were like on February 5, 2019, which marked his own 34th birthday.
So, without further ado, be sure to check out the eye-opening results down below:
International goals: 85
Non-penalty goals: 568
Major honours: 29
Ballon d'Or trophies: 5
European Golden Shoes: 4
International goals: 73
Non-penalty goals: 646
Major honours: 36
Ballon d'Or trophies: 6
European Golden Shoes: 6
Overwhelming win for Messi
Wowsers. There you have it. To say that Messi has the advantage over Ronaldo when it comes to their 34th birthdays would be the mother of all understatements.
It's staggering to think that the Barcelona skipper has more goals, assists, non-penalty goals, major honours, Ballon d'Or titles and European Golden Shoes than Ronaldo did at the same age.
The only major area where Ronaldo can claim a victory is international goals, which, to be fair, seems fitting when he's just equalled Ali Daei's world record with his 109th strike for Portugal.
So, while Ronaldo and Messi's career stats might be similar right now, let the data go to show that the latter has their debate wrapped up if he can maintain his stellar numbers for two more years.News Now - Sport News