Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Answering 13 key questions about the Barca and Juve stars

  • Kobe Tong
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Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo is the gift that keeps on giving.

Ronaldo vs Messi debate

Now that Messi has drawn level with his eternal rival for international trophies, fans are going back and forth across social media to try and decide who the greatest footballer of all time really is.

Ok, it goes without saying that there will never be a bloodless and clean-cut way of separating the Ballon d'Or winners and trust us when we say that we've used countless methods to try.

As such, the best means of conducting the Messi vs Ronaldo debate is often by accepting that they are two entirely different players that we should enjoy and respect in their own right.

Paul Pogba has rejected a new contract (Football Terrace)

Ronaldo vs Messi FAQs

Bearing that in mind, we're taking a polite, classy and all-round peaceful country walk through 13 of the biggest FAQs of the Ronaldo vs Messi debate today. Sounds blissful, doesn't it?

Ok, that's a slight exaggeration because there inevitably has to be a winner behind each question and that will duly stoke the fires of debate, but we can only dream, right?

To answer these heavy-hitting questions, we're calling upon the data on michelacosta.com, which is the self-proclaimed biggest Ronaldo vs Messi study on the internet, unless stipulated otherwise.

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Huge Ronaldo vs Messi questions

So, without further ado, be sure to have some of the biggest Ronaldo vs Messi questions answered down below:

1. Who has the better record in finals?

Answer: Lionel Messi (kind of)

In terms of individual performances, there's no denying that Messi is the winner because his record of 31 goals and 14 assists in finals far surpasses the 20 goals and two assists of Ronaldo.

However, it must be said that Ronaldo has won a higher proportion of the finals that he's played in with 71.88% of the 32 climaxes ending in triumphs whereas Messi has lost 32.43% of his 37 entries.

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2. Who has gone on the longest goal-scoring streak?

Answer: Lionel Messi

We can barely even comprehend this record as we're typing it out, but Messi embarked on an earth-shattering streak of 21 matches without failing to score in La Liga during the 2012/13 campaign.

To put that into context, Messi didn't draw a blank at all in the league from mid-November to the final day of the season. Unreal.

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3. Who has scored the most hat-tricks?

Answer: Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo still holds on to the bragging rights in this department with 57 career trebles whereas Messi is bringing up the rear on 54 hat-tricks.

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4. Who has the better record at international tournaments?

Answer: Cristiano Ronaldo

While Messi finds the back of the net every 271 minutes at the World Cup, Ronaldo does so every 211 minutes and the trend endures at the European Championships and Copa America, too.

Ronaldo nets every 154 minutes on the continental stage compared to Messi's 221-minute rate and the Portuguese superstar also boasts superior gross totals across both major competitions.

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5. Whose goal-scoring rate is the best?

Answer: Lionel Messi

Arguably the biggest question on the entire list is won by Messi with the Barca skipper averaging a goal every 101 minutes and 39 seconds across his entire professional career for club and country.

Ronaldo, by contrast, clocks in at 111 minutes and 32 seconds.

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6. Who has scored more than three goals in a game the most?

Answer: Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo takes the acclaim here for having upgraded a hat-trick on eight occasions, helping himself to five goals twice, while Messi has bagged five quadruples and one quintuple for a total of six.

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7. Who has the higher proportion of penalty goals?

Answer: Cristiano Ronaldo

True to the stereotypes, Ronaldo has not only scored more career penalties (139) than Messi (100), but it makes for a larger proportion of his total (17.75%) compared to his Barcelona rival (13.37%).

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8. Who has scored the most free-kicks?

Answer: Lionel Messi

How times change. The answer to this always used to be Ronaldo, but now the Juventus star's total of 56 set-piece strikes has been overtaken by Messi's tally of 58 career conversions.

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9. Who has won the most individual awards?

Answer: Lionel Messi

Although it's nigh on impossible to track every single award that might have been attributed to Messi and Ronaldo over the years, rest assured that the list on michelacosta.com is pretty monumental.

And by their calculations, Messi has taken home an eye-watering 103 individual plaques across his career whereas Ronaldo 'only' has 79 gongs with his name on it.

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10. Who has the better record when they're playing each other?

Answer: Lionel Messi

Per Transfermarkt, this is a clean sweep for the Argentina icon who has won more of their 35 encounters than Ronaldo, while also scoring more goals and providing more assists in the process.

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11. Who has the higher proportion of weak-footed goals?

Answer: Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo has bagged a stunning total of 144 goals with his left foot, which translates to 18.39% of his career goals, whereas Messi's 92 strikes with his right foot only account of 12.32% of his goals.

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12. Who has the most Ballon d'Or votes overall?

Answer: Cristiano Ronaldo

Sadly, this is something of a hollow victory for Ronaldo because we have to chalk off no less than six iterations of the Ballon d'Or when it was under FIFA's control between 2010-2015.

That's because only percentages of the vote were published in that era, meaning that Messi is put at a massive disadvantage because he won four of his six trophies when FIFA were pulling the strings.

Nevertheless, Ronaldo takes the victory from the data that we do have available with 3,618 votes to the 2,963 that Messi amassed. We'll let you fill in the gaps if we had all the votes to play with...

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13. Who's had the season with the highest goal-per-game ratio?

Answer: Lionel Messi

Staggeringly, Messi scored 73 goals in just 60 games during the 2011/12 season for a goal-per-game ratio of 1.22(!!!), which tops Ronaldo's high watermark of 1.13 from the 2014/15 campaign.

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So, from Ronaldo having a better record at international tournaments to Messi's superior goal-per-game ratio, we like to think that we've answered some of the debate's most urgent questions.

As for what that means for the Ronaldo vs Messi debate as a whole is up for your interpretation, but there's no denying that the answers give plenty of ammunition for the wider conversation.

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