Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Who has scored the most headers, penalties and free-kicks?

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are on a collision course in the Champions League.

It's been far too long since we've seen the best two players of this generation sharing a pitch with Ronaldo's move to Juventus meaning we no longer receive annual domestic clashes.

In hindsight, we were spoilt seeing Ronaldo and Messi lock horns at least twice a year between 2009 and 2018 with the superstars standing either side of the Real Madrid vs Barcelona battle-lines.

Messi vs Ronaldo

As a result, supporters had been keeping their fingers crossed that Barcelona and Juventus would be drawn together in the Champions League and that's what happened for the 2020/21 campaign.

Sadly, we were denied the first Ronaldo vs Messi clash in two years earlier in the group stages when the former was forced to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19.

Although Ronaldo was absent, it was the Messi show at the Allianz Stadium as the Argentine scored one of two Barcelona goals in Turin as part of an all-round masterclass.

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Comparing the two stars

But now we're all set for the big occasion in the reverse fixture with Juventus taking the trip to Camp Nou knowing they need a convincing victory to secure top spot in Group G.

In the meantime, though, it only makes sense that we put the Ronaldo vs Messi debate under the microscope and look at new ways we can compare the superstars before their big reunion.

Because we couldn't possibly just appreciate them for their own respective brilliance, could we? Besides, we've found a new inventive way to pit the Ballon d'Or winners against each other.

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Ronaldo reaches 750 goals

On the back of Ronaldo moving to 750 career goals, we thought it would apt to see how the Juve forward has produced those incredible numbers and how that compares to his eternal rival.

To achieve that, we've turned to the football statisticians at Transfermarkt and put every single goal that Ronaldo and Messi have scored in their club careers through a series of filters.

The website sorts goals in a number of categories ranging from whether they were a free-kick, penalty or even deflected as well as the body part it was scored with.

All in all, there were 13 types of goals that both Messi and Ronaldo had scored at least one of and we crunched the numbers to see who comes out on top in each respective category.

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Ronaldo vs Messi by types of goals scored

It's worth noting that the definitions of stricter categories such as 'tap-ins' are incredibly stringent but other than that, don't hold back and tuck into the statistics with our full breakdown below:

Left-footed

Lionel Messi: 392

Cristiano Ronaldo: 100

Right-footed

Cristiano Ronaldo: 234

Lionel Messi: 80

Header

Cristiano Ronaldo: 102

Lionel Messi: 22 

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Penalty

Cristiano Ronaldo: 118

Lionel Messi: 80

Penalty rebound 

Lionel Messi: 3

Cristiano Ronaldo: 2

Direct free-kick

Lionel Messi: 47

Cristiano Ronaldo: 46

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Counterattack goal

Cristiano Ronaldo: 3

Lionel Messi: 0

Long distance kick

Cristiano Ronaldo: 9

Lionel Messi: 0

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Tap-in

Cristiano Ronaldo: 13

Lionel Messi: 9

Deflected shot on goal

Lionel Messi: 2

Cristiano Ronaldo: 2 

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Solo run

Lionel Messi: 4

Cristiano Ronaldo: 1

Chest

Lionel Messi: 1

Cristiano Ronaldo: 0

Game-winning goals

Cristiano Ronaldo: 200

Lionel Messi: 175

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Final score: Cristiano Ronaldo 7.5-5.5 Lionel Messi

So, there you have it, Ronaldo's all-round attributes have been confirmed with his broader variety of goals and it comes as a relief when you consider Messi won some of the obscurer categories.

It wouldn't have felt right if the Barcelona skipper pipped Ronaldo at the post by way of having scored more penalty rebounds or found the net with his chest once in more than 15 years.

But to Messi's credit, his record of 80 goals with his weak foot in club football is more comparable with Ronaldo's 100 than you might have expected.

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Overall, though, no matter where you stand on the wider Ronaldo vs Messi debate, I think we can all agree that its the Portuguese star who has a little more diversity when it comes to goal-scoring.

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