Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Comparing their records at age 35

Lionel Messi has just turned 36 years old – and with another milestone comes yet more comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Ronaldo is two years older than Messi, and as such two years deeper into his career. But how did his stats at the age of 35 compare to his era-defining rival?

Messi has enjoyed one of the greatest years of his career at the age of 35.

He’s the hot favourite to lift a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or later this year after finally getting his hands on the most coveted trophy of all, having been named Player of the Tournament for his role in Argentina’s World Cup triumph in Qatar.

The World Cup came and went midway through the 2022-23 campaign. Messi’s birthday is in late June, meaning that each year syncs up neatly with the football calendar.

At the age of 35, Messi notched 16 goals and 16 assists in 32 Ligue 1 appearances as PSG retained their league crown.

But the Argentinian also suffered disappointment in Europe as the Parisiens exited the Champions League at the first knockout hurdle against Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, old foe Ronaldo celebrated his 35th birthday in February 2020. At the time, Juventus were closing in on a ninth successive Scudetto.

He scored 37 goals in all competitions for the Old Lady that season (31 in the league) but lost out on the Capocannoniere award for Serie A’s top scorer to Lazio’s Ciro Immobile.

Things took a downturn the following year for Juventus, eventually ending up in an underwhelming 4th place under returning club legend Andrea Pirlo, although Ronaldo still kept banging in the goals and ended up as Serie A’s top scorer with 29 league goals.

Things don’t work out quite as neatly for Ronaldo, whose age tallies up against the final months of the European calendar, the off-season, and the first six months of the following year.

That year was also notable for the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Italian season running until early August after games were suspended for three months.

We’ve taken a closer look at Messi and Ronaldo’s stats at the age of 35.

Lionel Messi

Games: 54
Minutes played: 4803

Goals: 38
Assists: 25

Penalties scored: 4
Hat-tricks: 1
Free-kicks scored: 4

Minutes per goal: 126.4
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 141.2
Minutes per goal or assist: 76.2

Trophies Won: 2022 World Cup, 2022 Trophee des Champions, 2022-23 Ligue 1

Cristiano Ronaldo

Games: 48
Minutes played: 4,083

Goals: 40
Assists: 8

Penalties scored: 14
Hat-tricks: 0
Free-kicks scored: 2

Minutes per goal: 102.1
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 157.0
Minutes per goal or assist: 85.1

Trophies Won: 2019-20 Serie A, 2020 Supercoppa Italiana

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