Unarguably the two greatest players of their generation by some distance, unarguably two of the greatest players in history, and to many, the greatest of all time, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have forged a rivalry which is unparalleled in any other sport and probably in any other field.
The pair have dominated football totally for so long, changing the entire landscape of the beautiful game that imagining the footballing world without them in near on impossible.
Records have been set, broken and reset almost at will, while personal accolades and trophies have been achieved such that by the time they retire, a museum might have to be made to contain all their titles (although Cristiano already has a museum in his honor).
The competition between both men has been so intense that it has spawned a website dedicated to just the stats and records of the pair, while they have a set of feverishly dedicated fans running into their hundreds of millions (almost on an equal number) around the world who believe their preferred player is the better of the two.
A recurring (rather annoyingly) trend across social media and internet pages on football posts (even unrelated ones) over the last decade has been arguments between fans over who the better player is, with neither set agreeing that the other party is right, backing up their arguments with sound logic and facts that vindicate their claim.
It might be nigh on impossible to decide who the better player is and for this reason, the more logical fans of each player have settled on the consensus that Lionel Messi is the better creator, playmaker and more naturally gifted, while Ronaldo is the more driven, dedicated and better goalscorer of the two.
While Cristiano Ronaldo is unarguably one of the greatest goalscorers in the history of the game and this writer takes nothing away from his goal-scoring feats, it is out-rightly preposterous to suggest that he is a better goalscorer that Lionel Messi.
In this piece, we shall be taking a look at five facts that show Lionel Messi is a better goalscorer than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Note - All stats correct as of 03 Feb 2019
#5 He has a better goal-per-game ratio
While Ronaldo might have scored more official goals than Lionel Messi (677 to 646), this overlooks the critical fact that the Portuguese had a head-start of almost two years on Lionel Messi and more consequentially, has played more matches than the Argentine.
Lionel Messi has made 792 official appearances for Blaugrana and Argentina throughout his career, which entails that his 646 goals have come at an astonishing ratio of 0.81 goals per game.
By contrast, Ronaldo's 677 goals have come in exactly 945 official matches for club and country, which means he has scored 0.71 goals per game for club and country throughout his career.
While both men's goal ratios are extremely impressive, the fact that Messi has a better ratio of about 10 goals every 100 matches than Ronaldo, shows that he has been a more consistent goalscorer than the Juventus man throughout his career.
#4 He has better personal best in a calendar year
Once upon a time, Gerd Muller was the best striker in the world as he fired in goals for fun during the 1960s and 1970s.
In 1972, Germany's top striker scored 85 goals for club and country which marked the best end to a year in terms of goals scored by an individual player.
This record stood for 40 years, until a certain Lionel Messi took the bull by the horns, not only breaking the record, but also adding a further six goals on top of it for good measure to stake his claim as the player with the most goals in a calendar year in history.
Whereas Lionel Messi's personal best in terms of goals in a calendar year stands at 91, by contrast, Ronaldo could only manage 69 a year later (which till date is his best tally in a year).
Messi's best goal-scoring year has a margin of almost 30 goals on Cristiano's best end to a year and this serves as further indication to the fact that Lionel Messi is quite simply a better goalscorer than Ronaldo.
#3 Messi has the better head-to-head record
For nine seasons, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo played in LaLiga for Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. Both clubs' mega stature meant that they not only did they compete with each other for domestic dominance in Spain, but also on the continent and beyond.
However, both Ronaldo and Lionel Messi had some history prior to their respective El Clasico clashes, first squaring up in the Champions League semi-final of 2008 as Barcelona got knocked out.
The next meeting between the pair was just a season later as Barcelona exacted revenge by triumphing over Ronaldo's United in the 2009 UCL final en route to their unprecedented six title triumph that year, with Messi in among the goals.
Since that time, their clashes have been strictly in El Clasicos or on the international scene, with Lionel Messi triumphant on 16 occasions to Ronaldo's 10, while nine matches have ended in a stalemate.
In the goals department, Lionel Messi also prevails, having scored 22 goals in the 35 official clashes between the pair while Ronaldo has managed 19 goals.
In terms of head-to-head records in terms of goalscoring, LM10 also thumps CR7 and this highlights that he has been more decisive in settling matches between the two.
#2 He has a better personal season best
Once upon a time, 30-goal seasons were reserved for only the best of the best strikers, while 40-goal seasons were such a rarity that only a handful of players had achieved that, and even among those who had performed reached the mark did so just once or at most twice in their careers.
Fast forward to the present day and these have not only become commonplace, but also the benchmark for any player attempting to achieve any reckoning, as Ronaldo and Messi have made 40-goal seasons look so ordinary that anything short of this is worth even batting an eyelid over.
Both men have scored at least 40 goals in all competitions for their respective clubs for the eight seasons consecutively, while 50 and 60-goal seasons were also achieved by the pair.
However, for all of Ronaldo's otherworldy brilliance, he has not quite managed to bang in 70 goals in all competitions in a season for his club, with that honor going to Lionel Messi who notched 73 goals in his record braking season in 2011/2012 (with 50 coming in La Liga, 14 coming in the Champions League and nine in other Cup competitions).
By contrast, Ronaldo's best scoring mark came in the 2014/2015 season when he achieved an personal best of 61 goals, with 48 of those coming in LaLiga, 10 coming in the UCL and three coming in other Cup competitions.
Ronaldo's personal season best comes 12 goals short of the mark set by Lionel Messi, so it asks questions of how exactly the Portuguese is considered a better goalscorer than Lionel Messi.
#1 Messi has a higher personal league season best
It has long since been established that both men are among the greatest goalscorers of all time, winning numerous Golden Boots awards, while they each are also the current top scorers in their respective leagues.
Both men undoubtedly reached the peak of their scoring prowess while in direct competition with one another in LaLiga, and both men were the first two players in history to break the 40-goal mark in LaLiga's history.
While Ronaldo was the first of the pair to break that mark in the 2010/2011 season, scoring 40 goals to win the first of his three LaLiga Golden Boots, Lionel Messi went on better a season later to bang in 50 goals which remains the most goals in a single season in LaLiga history.
Cristiano Ronaldo's personal league best sees him fall just two goals short as he scored 48 goals in the 2014/2015 season, which was enough to see him win the Golden Boot in both Spain and Europe.