Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the football landscape for two decades like none else. The eternal rivals, who broke onto the scene in the mid-2000s, have 11 Ballon d'Or awards, ten European Golden Shoes and nine Champions League trophies between them.
Both superstars have incredible goalscoring records. They are big-game players and have been the difference-makers for both club and country for several years now. More importantly, they've tasted success at both club and international level, making them two of the greatest players in football history.
Despite enjoying a similar level of success in the game, Messi and Ronaldo do not share too many other similarities. There are many things that differentiate the iconic duo from each other. On that note, here's a look at five of the most notable ones:
#5 Approach to the game
One huge thing that differentiates Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from each other is their approach to the game. Over the years, we've witnessed the two employ different techniques to impact games.
Ronaldo is a direct, quick and sharp attacker who can hurt opposition defences in the blink of an eye, thanks to his blistering pace and physicality. The former Juventus winger thrives the most when deployed on the left flank, from where he makes dazzling runs to the box and finish off chances.
Messi, meanwhile, has a more technical style. The former Barcelona captain relies on his ability to build-up plays, dribble through opposition players and split defences open with his amazing vision and impeccable passing skills. He also cuts into the box, but from the right flank, and shoots with precision to wreak havoc.
#4 Finishing ability/ attacking style
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are obviously two of the greatest finishers the game has ever seen. On an honest note, numbers may not be enough to differentiate the two superstars.
The Portuguese has a few more career goals than Messi. But the latter has a better goal-to-game ratio, and they've both scored over 700 goals in their careers. One thing that is evident, though, is that Ronaldo is more of a finisher while Messi thrives in both finishing and creating.
Ronaldo operates as a predator in the box, pouncing on opportunities, while Messi occasionally drops deep to create chances for his team. The fact that Ronaldo has more career goals and Messi more career assists between the two probably explains that best.