Can Cristiano Ronaldo break Lionel Messi's goalscoring records this season?
When it comes to the never-ending, yet hotly debated, Messi vs Ronaldo comparisons, we all agree to disagree. The ex-footballers with their opinions on both players add to the confusion. I have, by this point, come to the conclusion that though this is a hugely subjective topic; the closest we can ever reach some sort of conclusion is through facts and statistics alone.
And then again, statistics too are of so many different types. And both Ronaldo and Messi have a fair share that it gets confusing at every turn. But let's not deviate from the topic here. Let us and try and discuss, and predict records which Ronaldo can break this season, chief among them being some of his arch-nemesis’ most cherished records.
Most goals in a La Liga season
There used to be a time when a 30-goal haul would have been able to make a player the most prolific striker in La Liga. But nothing has been the same since Messi and Ronaldo arrived. Daniel Guiza won the Golden boot in the 2007/08 season with 27 goals and Diego Forlan the next season with 32.
Ronaldo has already scored an astonishing 25 at the halfway point of the season! Since the 2009/10 season, when Messi first won the Pichichi, to the current season, the award has been dominated by the two with Messi bagging the award thrice and Ronaldo bagging it twice. It is not only their victories, but the goal scoring benchmarks they have set along the way that are astonishing.
Since the 2009/10 season, Messi has finished with hauls of 34, 31, 50, 46 and 28 goals, although his last season was marred by injuries. Ronaldo has finished with hauls of 26, 40, 46, 34 and 31 goals. Out of all these astonishing statistics, the one which stands out is Messi’s 50-goal haul in the 2011/12 season. Scoring 50 goals in a 38 game season is not something we come across regularly, but such has been the high standard that Ronaldo came close to eclipsing or equalling the record with 46 goals in the same season.
The players have been going head to head for a long while now, but we have to admit that even Ronaldo is outdoing himself this season with his goal-scoring feats, having already scored 25 goals after 15 games at a ratio of more than 1.5 goals per game in La Liga. At the rate at which Ronaldo is going, the record is surely within his grasp and he is one who thrives on such challenges. If he can consistently maintain the same goals per game ratio, he can score 60 plus goals in La Liga alone!
Most goals in a season in all competitions
This includes all the tournaments that a player takes part in during the course of a season, including the Champions League, the domestic Cups and, if fortunate, the Club World Cup. It is this record which must appear as a sore thumb for Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi tops this list with his 82 goals (counting international matches) in the 2011/12 season.
Ronaldo surprisingly languishes at the 10th position with his best output being 69 goals in a season. However, unlike the La Liga record, this looks like one which Ronaldo does not seem certain to break. At the half-way mark, he has scored 32 goals and needs a further 50 to equal Messi’s record. During the record-breaking season, Messi scored 50 in the league, 14 in the Champions League, 3 in the Supercopa matches, 2 goals in the Club World Cup, one at the European Supercup and 9 for Argentina.
Now let us look at Ronaldo’s showing in the current season wherein he has already scored 32 goals. Granted, he has scored at an astonishing rate in the league but he has slowed down in the Champions League where he broke Messi’s record last year with his final tally of 17 goals.
This season, he has scored 25 in the league, 2 in the European Supercup but only 5 in the Champions League. He drew blanks at the Supercopa Series and the Club World Cup. This record is not unattainable, but one for which Ronaldo must surely dig his heels and come up with his best game in, game out. He also has to make the most of the international matches to speed up his chase for this record.
This is turning out to be Ronaldo’s best ever season and it looks more like a battle between the 2014 Ronaldo and the 2011-2013 Messi. When it comes to these two stalwarts, each game, each minute and every move of theirs’ can be decimated and turned into a new benchmark. In fact, there are so many records these two share that we lose count of them.
The other major Messi records that pop up are the record for scoring 91 goals in a calendar year and the most goals scored in El Clasicos (21). Ronaldo’s best over the course of a year has been his 61 goals in 2012 and 2014, which are still pretty far off from Messi’s record. In El Clasicos, Ronaldo trails Messi by seven goals.
But then again, Ronaldo has a superior goals per game ratio in La Liga and looks likely to eclipse Raul’s all-time scoring record of 228 at Real Madrid having already scored 202 goals in just 179 matches. He is also ahead of Messi in the number of hat-tricks scored with 23.
See what I’m talking about? You just can’t stop mumbling records when it comes to these two!