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


Cristiano Ronaldo is often cheekily labelled as ‘Penaldo’ across social media.

While, yes, it might well be the lightweight jabs of Lionel Messi fans across Twitter, it does seem to have created a narrative that the Manchester United star is somewhat reliant on penalty goals.

Already there is a lot to unpack about that statement and much of this entire article will revolve around just how much you think penalties should be caveated in overall goalscoring tallies.

The importance of penalties?

Would you say, for example, that Luis Suarez scoring 31 Premier League goals for Liverpool in the 2013/14 is all the more impressive for the fact not a single one of the strikes was a penalty?

Now, look, nobody is saying that penalties are in any way easy to score because even the greatest players have missed them, but it’s not a stretch to say that they’re simpler than scoring in open play.

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In other words, it’s not a totally arbitrary exercise to look at the non-penalty goal stats of the world’s best players and you just know we couldn’t resist making the Messi vs Ronaldo comparisons.

Thankfully, MESSIVSRONALDO.APP has a swift comparison tool for that exact metric, breaking down who out of Ronaldo and Messi scored the most non-penalty goals in each and every season.

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Ronaldo vs Messi: Non-penalty goals

The data, which we have corroborated through Transfermarkt, focuses on club football alone and makes a pretty clear case that one player is better at accumulating non-penalty goals than the other.

Intrigued? Well, of course you are, so jettison everything you know about how Messi and Ronaldo’s goalscoring compares season on season by taking a look at it through a non-penalty lens below:


Well then, that’s a pretty conclusive victory for Messi.

A resounding victory for Messi

Since the 2007/08 season in which Ronaldo won his first Ballon d’Or trophy, the PSG superstar has gotten the better of his eternal rival in 11 campaigns out of a possible 13.

In fact, the only two years in which Ronaldo was able to outscore Messi in open play after the penultimate year of his first United spell were the 2013/14 and 2015/16 seasons with Real Madrid.


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Obviously, it makes for quite a damning whitewash and one from which you can draw your own conclusions depending on how much importance you place on goals being scored in open play.

The lazy labelling of Ronaldo as ‘Penaldo’ is, of course, merely the cheap shots of social media, but it appears to be objective fact that the Portuguese relies on penalties more than Messi.



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