#3 Lionel Messi has the better head-to-head record
We are blessed to have seen this great rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo unfold before our eyes. It almost looks like it was scripted from the heavens, the way in which they squared off for the biggest clubs in the world who also happened to be bitter rivals.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have clashed a whopping 36 times. Lionel Messi leads the head-to-head record with 16 wins. Cristiano Ronaldo has won 11 times. Nine matches have ended as draws. Lionel Messi has scored 22 goals and assisted 11 in the matches he has played against Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 19 and has provided just one assist. This is a clear indication that Lionel Messi has performed better when they have locked horns.
#2 Lionel Messi has won the Golden Ball for the Best Player at a World Cup
One of the main criticisms filed against Lionel Messi is that he has not been successful with the Argentinian national team. However, it is not for a lack of trying. Messi has consistently been let down by some of his teammates.
Lionel Messi led Argentina from the front as they made it to the finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was their main man and even single-handedly schlepped them forward at times.
Messi scored four goals and provided one assist from seven appearances in the 2014 edition of the tournament but saw his World Cup dream cut short by a Mario Gotze goal in the 113th minute of the game. However, Messi won the Golden Boot for being the best player at the World Cup.
The farthest Cristiano Ronaldo has reached in a World Cup is the semi-final in 2006 when he was still one of the youngsters on the Portuguese side.
#1 More Ballon d'Ors than Cristiano Ronaldo
The Ballon d'Or is the most prestigious and coveted individual prize in football. As mentioned earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have enjoyed a duopoly of sorts over the Ballon d'Or for over a decade. They have been going neck to neck for years but now it finally looks like Lionel Messi will win the Ballon d'Or race.
Lionel Messi has won six Ballon d'Ors while Cristiano Ronaldo has five. Both Messi and Ronaldo are in the fight for the prestigious award this year but Lionel Messi has clocked better numbers so far and is in with a chance of winning the domestic double.
Also, at 36, Ronaldo's powers are starting to wane while Lionel Messi still seems to have a few years of playing at the highest level left in him.