The Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi debate is done and dusted for 2021.
As we stride into the hope and promise of 2022, we can start to look back on the last 12 months where we once again got to witness two of the greatest players in history sharing the same era.
Ronaldo vs Messi in 2021
However, judging which player enjoyed the better calendar year is actually more difficult than you’d think from looking at the Ballon d’Or rankings where Ronaldo finished all the way down in sixth.
In fact, Messi and Ronaldo’s complete statistics in 2021 are actually pretty close and perhaps suggest that the Manchester United star’s performances this year have been seriously underrated.
Don’t believe us? Well, we decided to outline some of the most important metrics that you’d need to settle the Messi vs Ronaldo debate with in terms of last year in isolation.
Arsenal vs Man City Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
Comparing Ronaldo and Messi’s 2021 stats
So, let’s dive head first into the debate and get thinking about who enjoyed the better year by checking out Messi and Ronaldo’s 2021 statistics down below:
Cristiano Ronaldo 47-43 Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi 18-7 Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi 34-34 Cristiano Ronaldo
Minutes-per-goal in club football
Lionel Messi 116-125 Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo 13-9 Lionel Messi
Champions League goals
Lionel Messi 7-6 Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi 37-37 Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo 10-6 Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo 2-1 Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi 5-0 Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi 2-1 Cristiano Ronaldo
Major individual trophies
Lionel Messi 5-2 Cristiano Ronaldo
Put some respect on Ronaldo’s 2021
Now, look, we’re not saying that Ronaldo had a better year than Messi, but did he deserve to finish above N’Golo Kante and Jorginho in the Ballon d’Or rankings at the very least? Damn right he did.
Ronaldo scored as many club goals as Messi with more strikes in international football and a bigger total overall, while also notching double the amount of hat-tricks to boot.
Naturally, having said that, Messi relied on fewer penalties, won more trophies and proved more prolific in the Champions League, but the moral of the story is that it wasn’t a whitewash either way.
So, while there’s good reason to think that Messi really was the world’s best male player in 2021, we can’t forget that Ronaldo wasn’t far behind because his achievements last year deserve more credit.