Who is more impressive away in their twilight years?

Comparing Lionel Messi’s and Cristiano Ronaldo’s records in 2024 so far

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are winding down their legendary careers away from the spotlight of elite European football, but they could yet make more history this summer as they lead Argentina and Portugal into the Copa America and Euro 2024 respectively.

But how do they compare in their twilight years? We’ve crunched the numbers and taken a look at their stats from the calendar year so far, comparing how they’ve fared for club and country in 2024.

Their attention has now turned to international glory in what may be their last major tournaments, but the majority of their football has been played for MLS outfit Inter Miami and Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr.

Ronaldo, 39 now, has played more matches and minutes, having played a schedule with Al Nassr more akin to the European schedule. The 2023-24 campaign was Ronaldo’s first full season in Saudi Arabia, and he ended it as the top flight’s top scorer by a considerable distance with 35 goals in 31 appearances.

No player in world football scored more goals last season than Ronaldo, and he’s not slowed down in the latter half of the campaign, with 22 goals in 22 games for Al Nassr and Portugal since the turn of the year.

However, he’s been conspicuously lacking in silverware so far in 2024 – Al Nassr finished a distant second to Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal. They also lost the Saudi King Cup of Champions final to Al-Hilal.

Messi, meanwhile, didn’t get his 2024 underway until February, when the 2024 MLS campaign began. This is first full season in America and he’s been treating MLS viewers to some vintage displays, with 12 goals and nine assists in just 12 appearances so far this season for Inter Miami.

The Argentinian icon will turn 37 during the upcoming Copa America, but in this kind of form he’ll back himself to lead La Albiceleste to a third successive international tournament triumph.

Messi and Ronaldo’s rivalry defined a generation. Nowadays it can’t be said they’re quite at the vanguard of the top of the game anymore, but their output remains ridiculous. How do they stack up against one another at this point, though?

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Here’s how their records compare in 2024:

Lionel Messi

Games: 17
Minutes played: 1389

Goals: 16
Assists: 12 

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

Minutes per goal: 86.8
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 92.6 
Minutes per goal or assist: 49.6 

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Games: 22
Minutes played: 1898

Goals: 22 
Assists: 2

Penalties scored: 3 
Free-kicks scored: 2  

Minutes per goal: 86.3 
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 99.8
Minutes per goal or assist: 79.1

Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo stats comparison 2024 calendar year goals assists