Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Decoding their international career stats
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo continued their goal-scoring prowess for their respective nations during the recently concluded international break. Messi scored for Argentina in their friendly wins over Panama and Curacao. On the other hand, Ronaldo netted successive braces for Portugal in their UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying games versus Liechtenstein and Luxembourg. Here we decode their international career stats.
Why does this story matter?
- What is supposedly the last phase of their careers, legends Messi and Ronaldo have shown no signs of slowing down.
- Aged 36, Messi broke the 100-goal mark in international football recently, becoming the third player to do so.
- Meanwhile, the men's top scorer in international football, Ronaldo, continued to extend his goals tally.
- Both players continue to show why they are the very best.
Recent records smashed by Messi and Ronaldo
Messi, who scored versus Panama in Argentina's 2-0 win, became only the second player to complete 800 career goals (including club football). He scored a hat-trick against Curacao to surpass 100 international goals next. Versus Liechtenstein, Ronaldo set a new record, clocking his 197th men's international appearance. Ronaldo, who scored a brace in the second half, steered clear of Bader Al-Mutawa (196 caps).
Breaking down Messi's international goals
In 53 friendly matches, Messi has smashed 48 goals, including the three versus Curacao. He has scored 13 goals in 34 Copa America matches. At the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Messi has smashed 28 goals in 60 games. Meanwhile, in 26 FIFA World Cup games, Messi has 13 goals under his belt.
Breaking down Ronaldo's international goals
In 52 friendly matches, Ronaldo has smashed 20 goals. He has 35 goals in 37 European Qualifiers. He has 14 goals in 25 Euro matches. Ronaldo also has 7 goals at the Nations League and two at the FIFA Confederations Cup. At the World Cup Qualifiers, Ronaldo has smashed 36 goals in 47 games. In 22 FIFA World Cup games, Ronaldo has 8 goals.
Messi and Ronaldo have scored against a host of teams
Messi has scored his international goals against 37 different nations with Curacao now adding to the list. Notably, his best return has come against Bolivia (8). He also has six goals each versus Ecuador and Uruguay (6). Meanwhile, Ronaldo has scored against 47 different nations. Ronaldo's love affair with Luxembourg continued as he raced to 11 goals in 11 matches.
What about international hat-tricks?
Messi now has 9 international hat-tricks. Before the match against Curacao, Messi's previous hat-trick came against Estonia in a friendly encounter last year. Argentina won the match 5-0 and Messi scored all five. Meanwhile, Ronaldo has a better tally (10 hat-tricks).
Messi holds these massive World Cup records
Only player to have won more than one FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 2014 and 2022. Oldest player to win FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: aged 35 years and 178 days. Most appearances at the FIFA World Cup finals: 26. Most assists provided at the FIFA World Cup: 8. Most Man-of-the-Match awards won in a single FIFA World Cup: 5, in 2022.
Ronaldo holds these international football records
Ronaldo has recorded the most appearances in European Championship finals (5). He has scored the most goals in European Championship finals (14). He has scored most Euro and World Cup final goals combined (22). He is also the first player to score 10 hat-tricks in men's international football. In Qatar last year, he became the first man to score in five World Cups.
Both players have tasted success in international football
Messi has lifted the FIFA World Youth Championship in 2005 with Argentina U-20. With Argentina U-23, Messi won the coveted Olympic gold medal in 2008. He has won the Copa America in 2021 and FIFA World Cup in 2022, besides the Finalissima. Ronaldo won the Toulon Tournament with Portugal U-20 in 2003. He lifted the UEFA European Championship (2016) and UEFA Nations League (2018-19).