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Comparing Lionel Messi's underwhelming penalty record to Cristiano Ronaldo's

Lionel Messi has missed 3 of his 6 penalties this season.

Lionel Messi's record with penalties isn't really the best around

While the jury is out on the possible consequences of Lionel Messi’s penalty miss against Manchester City at the Etihad, anyone with touch with pragmatism will admit that it might be too harsh to slate the Argentine just yet.

After all, Barcelona will be going into March 18th return leg against City with a 2-1 away lead and only the ridiculously brave would bet against Barca sealing it off at the Camp Nou. Stranger things have happened in football, but Messi’s penalty miss doesn’t really appear as ominous as some would have you believe. Or is it really?

In all fairness, Messi was brilliant against City and his performance in the first half was instrumental to the Catalan club brushing aside the reigning English champions and apart from that, it was his skill that won Barca the penalty in the first place. 

However, his miss from the spot does bring into question the Barcelona no 10’s frailties from the spot.

What the stats say

Messi has missed 5 of his last 10 spot kicks for club and country, including 3 of 6 for Barcelona this season. Tuesday’s miss was Messi’s third failed penalty in the Champions League. Incidentally, Cristiano Ronaldo has the same number of misses in the tournament along with Andriy Shevchenko. Only Thierry Henry with 5 misses and Ruud van Nistelrooy with 4 misses have missed more in the history of the UCL.

But for any fan seeking to find solace in the fact that the Argentine has missed the same number as his Portuguese arch-rival, further statistics doesn’t come across as very encouraging.

Messi's penalty record for club and country (including shootouts)

  Penalties taken Penalties scored Penalties missed
Barcelona 59 46 13
Argentina 12 10 2

And here is the Argentine’s record compared to Cristiano Ronaldo in club competitions after Ronaldo arrived at Madrid. Weirdly to simplify the assessment, the two seem to have taken the same amount of penalties for their current clubs.

Messi's penalty record at Barca compared to Ronaldo's at Madrid

  Penalties taken Penalties scored Penalties missed Success percentage
Messi 59 46 13 77.96%
Ronaldo 59 54 5 91.52%

Most Messi fans would readily point out that Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliant goalscoring record at Madrid is largely owing to the amount of penalty goals the Portuguese winger racks up. However, with the Argentine getting similar number of opportunities to boost his tally, the jibe at Ronaldo’s successful penalty record is somewhat baseless.

Even the most hardened Messi haters would deny the Argentine is indeed a magical player when on the field. There are so many facets of the game the Barca star is unparalleled at, but taking penalties is certainly not one of them.

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