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stats of Messi and Ronaldo


ABILITIES & RATINGS






GOAL SCORING

It seems as if Lionel Messi breaks a goalscoring record every other week, such is his mindblowing knack for finding the back of the net. He became Barcelona's all time leading scorer at the age of 24, broke Gerd Muller's 39 year old record for the most goals scored in a single season (73), and last season became the all time leading scorer in La Liga.
He is simply one of the greatest goalscorers of all time and will no doubt set even more practically unbreakable records throughout his career.
10/10
Remarkably, Ronaldo matches Messi's ability to find the back of the net and can also be considered as one of the greatest goalscorers of all time.
In fact, Ronaldo finished ahead of his rival in the scoring charts for the second season running, notching an astonishing 48 league goals in just 35 appearances in the 2014/15 season. He also has the most impressive goal scoring ratio in La Liga history (1.11 goals per game), having bagged 225 league goals in 200 games since arriving at Real Madrid (as of the end of the 2014/15 season).
10/10





HEADING

Heading is one of the few aspects of Messi's game that cannot be considered a world class attribute; not surprising considering his lack of height and Barcelona's style of play.
He is far from poor with his head though and chances are he will punish you if he's presented with a decent heading opportunity. Many will remember he famously headed his team into a 2 goal lead against Man Utd in the 2009 Champions League final.
7/10
For someone with such elegant skills and technique on the ground, Ronaldo can leap and power his head through the ball like a tough, towering centre back, with many of his countless goals coming via his head.
In 2014/15, Ronaldo headed home 17 of the 61 goals he scored in all competitions.
9/10





DRIBBLING

Messi is simply one of, if not the best dribbler of all time. His speed of thought together with his lightning quick feet enable his extraordinary ability to enter a crowd of players and come out the other side with the ball seemingly glued to his feet.
His small build and subsequent low centre of gravity allow him to travel almost as fast with the ball as he does without it, and it is probably this quality above all others that make Lionel Messi so enjoyable to watch.
10/10
Ronaldo is also an excellent dribbler, although this was more evident in years gone by when he would function as an out-and-out winger whose aim was to run at and terrorise defenders; a role which he absolutely excelled in.
More recently his game has adapted to more of a centre forward role, who expertly finishes moves rather than starts them. That is not to say he is not still capable of running at defenders and leaving them for dead; he most certainly is.
Ronaldo's dribbling could perhaps be summarised as explosive, whereas Messi's could maybe be described as more intricate.
8/10





PASSING

Messi's passing ability can be somewhat overlooked at times as people prefer to focus on his dribbling skills; however, his vision and execution when searching for a team mate is up there with the very best who have played the game, past or present.
Playing for a team like Barcelona, pass completion rates are always going to be high, but with 1313 passes completed in La Liga in 2014/15 and a completion rate of 82.2%, his numbers are very impressive nevertheless.
Messi's curved diagonal ball from non-threatening situations created several goals last season and helped onlookers to finally truly appreciate his passing ability alongside his other enormous talents.
9/10
It would be somewhat unfair to directly compare Ronaldo's passing ability to Messi's, as their team's style of play differs so much. Barcelona have been built on a philosophy of intricate passing football, whereas Real Madrid are all about fast-paced and explosive attacking football.
Ronaldo is still strong in this category however and last season recorded a personal best pass completion rate of 81.3%, having completed a total of 654 passes throughout the season.
It is the vision where Ronaldo perhaps falls short of his rival here.
8/10





FREE KICKS

Messi's vision and creativity with a dead ball are what set him apart from most free kick specialists. His ability to identify a spot and a route to that spot that eludes all opposing players in his way is simply pure class.
He perhaps lacks the force that Ronaldo can get behind a dead ball, but it's the finesse that makes his free kicks special.
9/10
Ronaldo's combination of sheer power and ability to make a ball move in all manner of directions place him amongst the most feared dead ball specialists. Few can match the pure theatre created as CR7 takes his trademark stance over a dead ball.
However, such is the power he attempts to pile into his free kick attempts, a large percentage often strike the wall or sail over the bar.
8/10





PENALTIES

Messi's penalty record has suffered serious setbacks over the last year or so. As of September 2015, Messi has missed 16 of the 79 penalties he has taken in his career for club and country (including shoot-outs), which is far from the standard one would expect from Barcelona's regular penalty taker.
You have to wonder how many more he can miss before he is relieved of his duty as the club's main penalty taker.
7/10
Ronaldo on the other hand has an unrivalled record from the penalty spot. Since his move to Real Madrid, he has bagged 51/56 penalties taken in the Champions League and La Liga - a very impressive conversion rate.
When Ronaldo misses from 12 yards, it's big news. They don't come much cooler than CR7 when placing the ball on the spot.
9/10





PHYSICALITY

At 5 foot 7 inches, Messi isn't the tallest of footballers and in his younger days, was in real danger of being overlooked (quite literally) due to his slight build and lack of physical prowess.
Luckily (for him and for us), his breathtaking, natural talent shone through. And his size can be quite deceptive! He is perfectly capable of holding his own against his larger opponents and can pack some serious power behind his shots.
7/10
Physically, Ronaldo is as close to perfection as it gets for the modern day footballer. At 6 foot 2, he's got the height and with the help of his impeccable physique, he has the strength of an ox.
Where Messi has the edge with skill, technique and vision, Ronaldo makes up for with strength, speed and power.
10/10





TEAM PLAY

For someone with so much skill and so many solo goals to his name, Messi has a remarkable reputation as a team player and is very rarely accused of holding onto the ball longer than he should have done. His scoring record is obviously closely matched by Ronaldo, but it's the assists count that shows a clear gap in Messi's favour.
In the 2014/15 season, Messi's linke up play with Neymar (and Suarez to a slightly lesser extent) reached new heights as they all seemed to settle on exactly the same wavelength. We also saw his unselfish side come into play as he would often pass up on a decent scoring opportunity to gift a team mate an easier chance, or hand them the chance to take a penalty.
9/10
In contrast to Messi, Ronaldo has often been the subject of frustration for both fans and team-mates, often guilty of trying to do too much on his own when using a team mate might have been a better option. He was also guilty in the 2014/15 season of very evidently showing frustration when a team mate had scored instead of him.
Despite this issue, you cannot ignore the fact that Ronaldo's assist record is a very healthy one, although someway short of Messi.
7/10





DISCIPLINE

Unsurprisingly, due to his lightning quick feet and skill, Messi is hacked at and kicked countless times in almost every game, but where some players would go down, Messi usually does everything he can to stay on his feet and continue the attack.
He is of course no saint and can show petulance and frustration at times, but in general, this behaviour is usually seen as the exception rather than the norm for Messi.
Messi came out of the 2014/15 season with 3 yellow cards to his name in La Liga.
8/10
Ronaldo has often received criticism for this part of his game, being accused of going down too easily or feigning injury to the benefit of his team.
One might argue that it is his undeniable passion for the game and will to win that sometimes gets the better of him when decisions do not go his way.
Ronaldo finished the 2014/15 season with 5 yellow cards and 1 red card in La Liga.
6/10





CONCLUSION

The final scores highlight just how close the battle is between these 2 players and just how lucky we are to have them both playing in one generation.
Messi dropped points mainly due to his physical limitations in areas such as heading, strength and power, but he topped his opponent on natural ability and technique on the ball, as well as his effectiveness on the rest of the team.
It is these latter points that Messi fans would claim give hime the edge over his rival, whose game is now very much centred around goal scoring.
76/90
There is no doubting that since Ronaldo's move to Spain, the gap has grown ever smaller between these two superstars and now - certainly in terms of goals at least - there is a great case for claiming the 2 players are now on a par, or perhaps, that Ronaldo has even overtaken the Argentinian. Ronaldo has subsequently won the last 2 Ballon d'Or awards (and deservedly so) to take the official title of current best player in the world.
Whatever your stance though, there is little doubt that these 2 players are light years ahead of anybody else playing the game today, and will surely go down as 2 of football's all time greats.
75/90

Sphamandla Ntshokotsha

Sphamandla Ntshokotsha

Staff writter

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