Comparing Messi’s and Ronaldo’s records in the CL knockout rounds

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo battle for the ball during Real Madrid v Barcelona. Camp Nou, Barcelona, October 2013.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have defined elite-level football for a generation – and nowhere more so than the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Despite the enduring appeal of the World Cup, the Champions League is the highest-quality competition of them all now, with the majority of the world’s best footballers locking horns on an annual basis.

But, even in this stacked field, Messi and Ronaldo have often been a cut above the rest.

Messi has led Barcelona to three Champions League titles – in 2009, 2011 and 2015 – and has often saved his most virtuoso performances for the big occasion.

It can be argued that Ronaldo has done this even more than Messi; he’s won five Champions League medals – one with Manchester United and four with Real Madrid – and often comes up clutch in the biggest games.

While Messi has scored more goals in the group stages, despite playing fewer games than Ronaldo, the Portugal international has significantly more in the knockout stages of the competition – helped by Real Madrid’s period of dominance in the mid-2010s.

We’ve crunched the numbers and compiled a detailed analysis of Messi and Ronaldo’s records in the Champions League knockout rounds.

Fans of either will find reasons why their guy is superior, fans of both will be amazed at their sheer consistency…

Lionel Messi

Appearances: 74
Total goals: 49
Total assists: 12
Minutes per goal: 130.7
Minutes per goal or assist: 105.0

Hat-tricks: 2
Penalties: 8/12
Man of the match: 26 (since 2009-10)

Last 16 appearances: 33
Last 16 goals: 29
Last 16 assists: 6
Minutes per goal: 98.4
Minutes per goal or assist: 81.5

Quarter-final appearances: 23
QF goals: 12
QF assists: 3
Minutes per goal: 163.3
Minutes per goal or assist: 130.7

Semi-final appearances: 15
SF goals: 6
SF assists: 3
Minutes per goal: 220.2
Minutes per goal or assist: 146.8

Final appearances: 3
Final goals: 2
Final assists: 0
Minutes per goal: 135.0
Minutes per goal or assist: 135.0

Cristiano Ronaldo

Appearances: 83
Total goals: 67
Total assists: 15
Minutes per goal: 109.9
Minutes per goal or assist: 89.8

Hat-tricks: 4
Penalties: 7/8
Man of the match: 17 (since 2009-10)

Last 16 appearances: 34
Last 16 goals: 25
Last 16 assists: 9
Minutes per goal: 114.3
Minutes per goal or assist: 84.0

Quarter-final appearances: 22
QF goals: 25
QF assists: 3
Minutes per goal: 79.0
Minutes per goal or assist: 70.5

Semi-final appearances: 21
SF goals: 13
SF assists: 2
Minutes per goal: 146.4
Minutes per goal or assist: 126.9

Final appearances: 6
Final goals: 4
Final assists: 1
Minutes per goal: 157.5
Minutes per goal or assist: 126.0


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