Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski have been the standout male footballers of 2021.
Having gone head-to-head at the Ballon d’Or and approaching FIFA’s ‘The Best’ awards as the leading two contenders, there’s no denying that their 2021 exploits will be going down in history.
However, the debate surrounding which player had the calendar year to rule them all simply hasn’t stopped raging, particularly in light of Messi winning his seventh Ballon d’Or trophy.
Lewandowski vs Messi
Fans seem to be split between claims that Lewandowski simply had the better individual year and rebuttals that Messi inspiring Argentina to Copa America glory should carry more weight.
And while we’re not suggesting that we can settle the argument at GIVEMESPORT, we can certainly supply you with all the facts because Lewandowski and Messi are both done and dusted for 2021.
Terry brutally honest on Ralf Rangnick (Football Terrace)
When the full-time whistle sounded on Lorient 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night, it brought down the curtain on Messi’s year as he prepares for his next first-team outing in January.
Meanwhile, Lewandowski can put his feet up over the Christmas and New Year period with the 4-0 win over Wolfsburg marking Bayern Munich’s final game until January 7.
Comparing Messi and Lewandowski’s 2021 stats
So, in other words, we now have a complete data set of Lewandowski and Messi’s output from 2021 and that allows us to judge with more certainly than ever: who actually had the better year?
And despite the dearth of statistics for calendar years, we’ve trawled through Transfermarkt to bring you 10 of the most fascinating metrics to judge Lewandowski and Messi’s 2021 exploits by.
From hat-tricks to free-kicks and minutes per goal to team trophies, Lewandowski and Messi have been put to the test with their data over the last 12 months and you can check it out down below:
Robert Lewandowski 58-34 Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi 14-9 Robert Lewandowski
Minutes-per-goal in club football
Robert Lewandowski 68.6-113.0 Lionel Messi
Robert Lewandowski 11-9 Lionel Messi
Robert Lewandowski 58-38 Lionel Messi
Robert Lewandowski 11-5 Lionel Messi
Robert Lewandowski 5-1 Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi 5-0 Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski 3-2 Lionel Messi
Major individual trophies
Robert Lewandowski 5-5 Lionel Messi
Lewandowski tops the statistics
When it comes to statistics, you have to say that Lewandowski enjoyed the better year.
With more goals at both club and international level, while also bagging more hat-tricks, non-penalty goals and team trophies, the Polish forward really was the darling of the data compared to Messi.
As such, it’s not unreasonable to imagine that fans without anecdotal experiences of each players’ years in the future will come to wonder why Messi won the Ballon d’Or as opposed to Lewandowski.
Nevertheless, contemporaries like ourselves might argue that Messi winning the Copa America and Copa del Rey tops Lewandowski bagging the Bundesliga, FIFA Club World Cup and DFL-Supercup.
But no matter where you fall on an argument full of legitimate points on either side, the unavoidable fact is that watching Lewandowski and Messi slug it out across 2021 has been gripping to watch.