Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: Who is the More Skilled Soccer Player?

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the world’s two best soccer players, there’s no doubt about that. They have an army of fans supporting and cheering for them whenever Barcelona plays against Juventus. In the past, they have faced off when Manchester United played Barcelona and when Real Madrid played Barcelona and now when Juventus plays Barcelona. What’s interesting and unique between them is that Messi has and maybe will only play for Barcelona.

Messi Versus Ronaldo Skill Battle

But whenever their respective teams meet, it is as much of a clash between the two best soccer players in the world, as it is between the two teams. Of course, both soccer players deserve the attention they receive as they possess a unique set of soccer skills to say the least. And it’s incredible to have such world class soccer player playing in the same era. Many say they make one another better just be how they try to up one another with goals or trophies for their teams.

What we are interested in is to determine which player deserves more fame or credit as the best player ever. Who is actually more skilled soccer player? From free kicks to hat trick the two always seem to try to top one another. Let’s look Messi versus Ronaldo and see who’s the more skilled soccer player overall:

Soccer Skills and Career Highlights

We can all agree that both Messi and Ronaldo are highly-skilled football/soccer players. There are not many other players out there that can play on par with them. Of course, there are certain areas in which they are much better than in others.

For example, Ronaldo is a much better player when it comes to heading the soccer ball. He has a clear advantage here because he is a much taller player than Messi. On the other hand, even though Ronaldo is a good dribbler, Messi is much better at dribbling. Here, Messi’s short height is an advantage as it allows him to move much more quickly.

According to most soccer experts, the two players are pretty much equated in other areas, such as passing accuracy, shooting accuracy, free kick skills, and the number of hat-tricks they scored.

However, when it comes to penalties, it seems that Ronaldo is much better at staying composed and scoring a goal. He has scored 109 goals and missed 23. Messi has scored just 81 goals and missed 24. Therefore, Ronaldo has a much higher percentage of successful shots.

Ronaldo is also a much more aggressive player, at least according to the available data. So far, he has received 10 red cards and 101 yellow cards. On the contrary, Messi has received just one red card and 53 yellow cards.

Another interesting stat that would good to know is how much each player runs during the course of a 90 minute game. Ronaldo is getting older, so doesn’t track back or run as much. While Messi is known for conserving his energy and or waiting for those opportunities where it makes sense to run –  Messi is famous for walking around the pitch at times, and then burst into the game to score a goal.

Here’s video of the two actually facing off in various games. Truly a Messi versus Ronaldo situation:

Social Media Competition

As far as their social media competition between Messi and Cristiano, if there was one: Cristiano Ronaldo has over 82 million Twitter followers and tweets from time to time or his team does. Messi doesn’t appear to have a Twitter account but Adidas has one for him, Team Messi, with nearly 3 million followers. Messi does have an Instagram, with over 140 million followers. Cristiano’s Instagram has almost 200 million followers. Yes, the two soccer greats are incredibly popular. Probably the two most famous people in the world.

Soccer Honors and World Records

Unsurprisingly, the two best players in the world have received numerous honors so far and hold a number of world records. To begin with, both have been awarded the Golden Ball multiple times. More precisely, Messi has received it six times, whereas Ronaldo has four Golden Ball trophies.

Messi leads in team honors as well. Since he has been playing for Barcelona, the team has received 21 honors in total. On the other hand, Ronaldo has contributed to 15 honors in total – nine for Manchester United and six for Real Madrid.

When it comes to individual honors, Messi has 15, which is two more than Ronaldo. Therefore, it seems that Messi’s skills have been more highly recognized worldwide than Ronaldo’s. This notion is reinforced by the fact that Messi also holds 15 world records, compared to Ronaldo’s 13.

Both players have become globally famous because they are strong attackers and score a high number of goals. Both of them managed to score a maximum of five goals in one match, which is something not a lot of players manage to do.

All in all, both of them are incredibly talented players with a variety of soccer skills in their legs. Even though the stats are more inclined toward Messi, we can conclude that the two are pretty much equal on the soccer playing field. If either player does win their World Cup for their country, that surely we be the determining factor as to who is truly the greatest soccer player of all time.

I do wonder if we’ll see one more round of Messi versus Ronaldo in the United States when they join the MLS at some point?