Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Who has the better finals record after Barcelona loss?

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Barcelona suffered heartbreak in the final of Supercopa de España on Sunday night.

The Blaugrana were left to lick their wounds after a gutting 3-2 defeat to Athletic Bilbao that will be best remembered for Lionel Messi's first red card in club football.

Antoine Griezmann had found the net for Barcelona on either side of an equaliser from Oscar de Marcos, only for Asier Villalibre to dramatically level the scores in the 90th minute.

Barcelona 2-3 Athletic Bilbao

As a result, the game ploughed onwards into extra-time and it was Athletic who resumed the back and forth of goals, taking the lead for the first time thanks to Inaki Willaims' scorching strike.

And with Barcelona marching towards the final whistle with no reply, frustrations were clearly building and Messi was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident with Villalibre.

It was just the third time that Messi had been sent for an early bath in his professional career as well as the latest disappointment in a long line of gutting results for Barcelona in recent seasons.

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Messi and Barcelona in finals

The Blaugrana failed to win a single trophy throughout the 2019/20 campaign and have suffered humiliating Champions League exits for the last three tournaments on the bounce.

So, falling short to Athletic in arguably Spain's least revered tournament was just another excuse for Barcelona and Messi to become the butt of every joke on social media this week.

Naturally, it wouldn't be Messi if those barbs and jibes didn't manifest themselves in comparison to his eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo who has something of a reputation as a born winner.

In fact, many tweets noted how a 33-year-old Messi was losing the Supercopa de España final, while Ronaldo was bagging his third consecutive Champions League title at the same age.

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Messi vs Ronaldo in finals

But we're not satisfied at comparing the two Ballon d'Or winners at a surface level and instead wanted to use Sunday's event as a launchpad to compare their respective records in finals.

Using the wide-ranging stats on michelacosta.com, the self-proclaimed largest statistical study of Ronaldo vs Messi on the internet, we've been able to do just that - and with fascinating results.

You can check out the full statistics down below, but keep scrolling to see the conclusions we drew because they don't shine brightly on Ronaldo in quite the way you might have expected:

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Ronaldo better collectively

As much as we can deep-dive into the stats until we're blue in the face, it's hard to look past the fact that Ronaldo has won 70% of the finals he's played in compared to Messi's record of 65.71%.

Messi has suffered 12 defeats in finals throughout his career, including three for Argentina, while Ronaldo has only come up short nine times and just once for Portugal.

Now, yes, you need skill and resilience to make the final in the first place, but considering we're talking about the climax in isolation, Ronaldo has to take the victory for his superior success rate.

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Messi better individually

However, as far as individual contributions are concerned, you've got to give it to Messi because his rate of producing goals and assists in finals completely overwhelms that of his older rival.

Messi has scored 10 more goals and provided 12 more assists than Ronaldo in finals, which makes for a huge lead of 22 goal contributions, despite having only played in five more of them.

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So, who has the better record in finals? Well, it largely depends on whether you want to judge them as individuals or for the teams they play in, but the answer is pretty clear for each distinction.

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