Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Comparing their records in 2023

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Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo 2023

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s rivalry defined an era but in 2023 they’re beginning to wind down their careers, albeit at different stages – but how do they compare at this point?

For many, Messi settled the GOAT debate in the final weeks of 2022, having played a starring role – named Player of the Tournament – in Argentina’s World Cup triumph in Qatar. Ronaldo lost his place in Portugal’s starting XI and had terminated his contract at Manchester United, leading to a lucrative move to the Saudi Pro League.

The calendar year so far hasn’t quite gone to plan for the two goalscoring greats.

PSG’s form has dipped considerably since the mid-season World Cup break. They’ve suffered a number of shock defeats in Ligue 1 and have been eliminated from the Champions League and Coupe de France.

Messi, 35, looks set to depart the Parc des Princes when his contract expires at the end of the season, and there’s likely to be a certain degree of acrimony when he waves goodbye.

The Argentina international has been suspended by the club for two weeks after missing training to visit Saudi Arabia in his role as a tourism ambassador, and PSG ultras have responded in fierce fashion.

Still, Messi’s numbers have largely been very solid this season – 15 goals and 15 assists in the French top flight – and the Parisiens should still retain their league title, despite their faltering form. He’s also the hot favourite to lift a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or following his exploits in Qatar.

Ronaldo, 38, isn’t playing at quite a high a level – as he himself freely admits.

“I think you should look at the (Saudi Pro League) in a different way,” Ronaldo said back in March, having joined Al Nassr in January.

“I’m not going to say that the league is a Premier League, that would be a lie. But it’s a very competitive league that I’m positively surprised by, a very balanced league and good teams. I am sure that in the coming years the league will be … the fourth, fifth or sixth most competitive league in the world.”

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward has been in prolific goalscoring form since signing for Al Nassr, but the club look set to end the 2022-23 campaign trophyless. They suffered defeat to Al-Wehda in the semi-finals of the King Cup and currently find themselves three points behind Nuno Espirito Santo’s Al Ittihad in the league.

Messi has been strongly linked with being the next big star to sign for a Saudi Pro League club.

But how do their stats compare in 2023 so far? We’ve delved into their numbers for club and country and assessed how they stack up against one another.

Lionel Messi

Games: 20
Minutes played: 1800

Goals: 12
Assists: 6

Penalties scored: 0
Hat-tricks: 1
Free-kicks scored: 2

Minutes per goal: 150.0
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 150.0
Minutes per goal or assist: 100.0

Cristiano Ronaldo

Games: 17
Minutes played: 1489

Goals: 16
Assists: 2

Penalties scored: 5
Hat-tricks: 2
Free-kicks scored: 2

Minutes per goal: 93.1
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 135.3
Minutes per goal or assist: 82.7

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