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The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

The Student News Site of Guilford High School

The Voyager

Ronaldo Vs. Messi: Who is the better player?


   In football, the era of Messi and Ronaldo is coming to an end, with both of them getting older in age. But the age-old question still stands, who is the better player? In this story we will cover player statistics, skills, and their overall career to see who is the better player. 


(skip if you know them both already)

   Born February 5th, 1985, Cristiano Ronaldo is widely accepted as the best player of all time by fans across the world. In 2003, he was signed to Manchester United where he was instantly regarded as one of the best forwards in the game. In 2008, he earned the European Golden Shoe award. After his stay at Manchester United he was signed to Real Madrid CF for a record-breaking $131 million transferring fee. His streak continued and he scored the most goals in La Liga history (soon to be broken by Messi at Barcelona). He scored 66 goals in 56 appearances with Real Madrid and won his second World Player of the Year award. In 2015, Ronaldo scored his 324th goal to become Real Madrid’s top goal scorer of all time. After this he would go to Italian powerhouse Juventus F.C. and score 28 goals in his first season, the lowest since his time at Manchester United. After Juventus he joined Manchester United again but struggled. Currently, the player is stationed at the Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr at 38 years old. Throughout his career Ronaldo has won 5 Ballon D’Ors and has 869 career goals, the most of any player ever. 

   Born June 24th, 1987, Lionel Messi is the highest scorer in La Liga. Messi was the youngest official player in the 2004-2005 season in La Liga at 17 years old. Though only 5’7, he was strong and versatile. At FC Barcelona, the team won the champions league title. By 2008, he finished second to Cristiano Ronaldo in winning a Ballon D’Or. In 2009, he helped Barcelona have their first “treble” (winning three European club titles in the same season). He scored 38 goals in 51 matches that season. He also bested Ronaldo in winning a Ballon D’Or and FIFA’S player of the year. In 2012, he scored his 233rd goal becoming Barcelona’s leading scorer in La Liga at 24 years old. In 2014, he helped Barcelona catch another treble. In 2021, he signed with PSG (Paris St. Germain) with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. In 2023, he joined Inter Miami and won his 8th Ballon D’Or. He remains with the club at the age of 36.

Player Stats

   Let’s compare the players’ statistics. Messi has a total of 821 goals and 344 assists. While impressive, Ronaldo wins with a total of 869 goals and 268 assists. It could be argued that Messi wins due to assists but at the end of the day, Ronaldo has put more balls in the net with his own boot. 

   Next is speed. Messi has been recorded to run at 20.2 mph which makes him one of the fastest players in the sport. Ronaldo runs past him with a recorded speed of 21.1 mph. Some people say that Ronaldo has a faster speed at full pace while Messi has a faster dribbling speed.

   Messi has a vertical of 41 inches. Surprisingly, Ronaldo also has a 41 inch vertical, but it could be argued that Ronaldo uses this more effectively since he has 145 head goals compared to Messi’s 26. 

   Through his career, Ronaldo has racked up 120 yellow cards and 11 red cards. Messi has a comparable 104 yellow cards, but only 3 red cards. Does this mean that Ronaldo plays with more aggression, more passion, or does it just show a lack of sportsmanship? I think it’s fair to say that it could be all three. 

Sportsmanship and Passion

   No matter what your opinion is, you can’t deny that both of the champions are passionate about their sport. This comes in many different forms of sportsmanship and behavior on the field. 

   In 2017, Ronaldo was suspended for five games for shoving a referee. This year in November he informed a referee that there was no foul, a foul that would have helped his team. Has Ronaldo learned with old age or do both of these actions come from passion for the sport? 

   Messi owns multiple Real Madrid shirts, the club that rivaled his own, and has even been reported to say that he regrets not swapping jerseys with more of their players. While this is fantastic sportsmanship, his team in the Qatar World Cup 2022, Argentina, was charged for disorderly conduct during the quarterfinal. 

   Both players have had good and bad sportsmanship, but both players have also shown great feats of being good, honest players as well. 


   To say that Messi is better than Ronaldo or vice versa would discredit the other, which is not fair. Both players have things in common, but also what one another lacks. In comparison, they both have an amazing amount of goals scored and great physical feats. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, as soccer fans, I think we can come together and say that both players can be regarded as the best of all time equally.

   Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

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Owen Meyers
Owen Meyers, News Editor

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