This time, arguably the two best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, will once again face-off in the UEFA Champions League semifinals.
After last week’s Copa del Rey final, their respective record stands at an even 1-1 when it comes to Cup final matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo came out on top in the Copa del Rey while Lionel Messi won the 2009 Champions League final in Rome with FC Barcelona. Oddly enough, both players each scored a header for the winning side.
Still, Lionel Messi has won Europe’s most prestigious club competition twice to Ronaldo’s sole medal in 2008.
Overall their record stands at 4-2-2 in favor for Lionel Messi. Furthermore, the goal-difference of their respective sides (not overall, just when those two guys featured in the game) stands at a disproportionate 10:3 for Lionel Messi’s sides.
Breaking it further down, Lionel Messi is just slightly ahead in the direct comparison, having scored three goals to Ronaldo’s two. The man dubbed CR7 accounts for 66 percent of the goals his sides have scored against a Messi side.
What’s more, both players have been awarded penalties when facing each other. While Cristiano Ronaldo has been awarded two (in the 2008 CL semifinal and the latest La Liga Clasico), he has also bottled one attempt.
Whereas Lionel Messi’s penalty record against Cristiano Ronaldo is spotless; he is one for one.
By anyone’s standard, the goal-scoring exploits of these two players is simply outlandish. Since Cristiano Rolando spent his formative years in England, start comparing their scoring records beginning with his Real Madrid transfer.
So far Lionel Messi has scored 97 goals in 102 games (0.95 goals/game) and provided a further 34 assists (0.33 assists/game) while Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 74 goals in 83 games (0.89 goals/game) and provided 20 assists (0.24 assists/game). Once more, Lionel Messi has the edge over his only competitor for the world’s best player tag.
Off the field, Lionel Messi has been a mainstay in the Ballon d’Or top three ever since 2007. He finished third that year but gradually improved to second in 2008 and winning it the last two times (2009, 2010).
Like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo debuted in the Ballon d’Or ceremony in 2007, won the award the following year, but has failed to claim a top three spot in the 2010 elections.
Staying off the field, not only would be playing for either FC Barcelona or Real Madrid be enough for any rivalry, they do so wearing the boots of companies who have a rivalry of their own, Nike and Adidas.
Surprisingly, Lionel Messi’s sponsor Adidas provides the kits for Real Madrid while Nike, Cristiano Ronaldo’s sponsor, provides FC Barcelona with the latest sports gear.
It’s a strange world indeed.
What’s left? Oh yeah the (cash) money game.
Understandably, that’s the one area that doesn’t interest me that much. They earn tons of money; does that benefit the average fan, I don’t think so. Nevertheless, let’s see what these two men earn in a single year.
According to France Football, Lionel Messi has earned €31 million from his salary and sponsorships, putting him firmly in the lead ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo whose earnings of €27.5 million are not bad either.
For further reading check out:
and my contribution to Will Tidey's Clasico article on CNN.com