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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi: Deconstructing the goal-scoring profiles of two Champions League behemoths

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Timeless

Ronaldo (left) and Messi
Ronaldo (left) and Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo (126) and Lionel Messi (112) are the only two players in the 27-year-history of the UEFA Champions League to have scored 100 goals in the competition and 100 goals for a single club in the competition.

The duo has scored a staggering 8 hat-tricks, which is the most by any player in Champions League history. Both players have been top-scorers in the competition in at least 4 consecutive seasons (Ronaldo - 6, Messi - 4).

Here is a comparative of the prolific duo's goal-scoring profile in the Champions League:

Games scored in

Ronaldo has scored his 126 Champions League goals (15 for Manchester United, 105 for Real Madrid and 6 for Juventus) in 80 games. During these games, Ronaldo's respective club won on 64 occasions, drew 8 times and lost on 10 occasions.

Messi has scored his 112 goals (all for Barcelona) in the competition in 68 games. In these games, Barcelona registered 57 wins, 8 draws and 3 defeats.

Game-winning goals

Ronaldo has scored 37 game-winning goals for Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus during his Champions League career.

Messi has done so on 36 occasions for Barcelona.

Goal per game since scoring first goal

Ronaldo in action in his debut Champions League game against Stuttgart in 2003-04
Ronaldo in action in his debut Champions League game against Stuttgart in 2003-04

Ronaldo made his debut in the Champions League for Manchester United against VfB Stuttgart in the 2003-04 season.

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The Portugal captain took 27 games in the competition to score his first goal, doing so for Manchester United against AS Roma in a 2006-07 quarterfinal game. Since then, Ronaldo has scored 125 goals in 136 games at a goal per game ratio of 0.92.

Messi in action in his debut Champions League game against Shakhar Donetsk in 2005-06
Messi in action in his debut Champions League game against Shakhar Donetsk in 2005-06

Messi made his Champions League debut for Barcelona against Shakhtar Donetsk in 2004-05. The next season, in a group game at home against Panathinaikos, the diminutive Argentinian scored his first goal in the competition.

Since scoring his first Champions League goal, Messi has found the back of the net 111 times in 131 games for a goals per game ratio of 0.85.

Number of clubs faced

Ronaldo has played against 48 teams in the UEFA Champions League, scoring against 32 of them.

He has failed to score against 16 different clubs (5 games against Barcelona, 4 games apiece against Benfica, Lille and Villareal, 3 games against Celtic, 2 each against Legia, Napoli, Sparta and Valencia, and in 7 games against 7 other clubs).

Messi has faced 38 different clubs from 16 different countries during his Champions League career, scoring against 32.

The Argentina captain has failed to score a Champions League goal against 6 clubs (4 games each against Atlético Madrid and Rubin Kazan, 3 games against Internazionale, 2 against Benfica and 1 game each against Udinese and Borussia Dortmund).

Number of clubs scored against

Ronaldo has scored against 32 different clubs from 15 different countries in the Champions League. His highest tally of goals against a single club is 10, which he scored against his present club Juventus. This is a competition record for most goals against a club by any player.

Messi has also scored against 32 different clubs, but from 16 different countries. The Argentinian's favorite opposition is Arsenal, against whom he has scored 9 goals.

Both Ronaldo and Messi have scored 10 or more goals against clubs from 4 different countries. Ronaldo has scored 26 goals against German clubs, 18 against Italian clubs and 12 apiece against French and English clubs.

Messi has netted 26 Champions League goals against English clubs, 16 against German clubs, 12 against Italian clubs and 10 against Dutch clubs.

Number of clubs against whom both Ronaldo and Messi have scored

Ronaldo and Messi have both scored against 18 different clubs from 12 different countries in the Champions League.

The tally includes 3 clubs from Italy (AC Milan, AS Roma and Juventus), 3 clubs from England (Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool), 2 clubs from Ukraine (Shakhar Donetsk and Dynamo Kiev), 2 clubs from Portugal (Sporting Lisbon and Porto), and 8 clubs from 8 other countries.

During these games, Ronaldo has scored 112 goals and Messi has found the back of the net on 93 occasions.

Group-stage goals

Ronaldo and Messi are the only players in Champions League history to have scored at least 60 goals in the group stage.

While Ronaldo has scored 60 group-stage goals in his Champions League career, Messi has scored a record 66 goals in the competition's group stage.

Knockout-stage goals

Ronaldo has scored a record 66 goals (23 in the Round of 16, 25 in the quarterfinals, 13 in the semifinals and 4 in finals) in Champions League knockout games. It is a standalone tally which is better than the third-highest tally of goals (60 by Karim Benzema) in the Champions League.

Messi has scored 46 goals (26 in the Round of 16, 12 in the quarterfinals, 6 in the semifinals and 2 in finals) in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Hat-tricks

Ronaldo exults after scoring his 8th Champions League hat-trick (second against Atlético) in 2018-19
Ronaldo exults after scoring his 8th Champions League hat-trick (second against Atlético) in 2018-19

Ronaldo has 8 Champions League hat-tricks, which is 5 more than the next highest tally of hat-tricks in the competition.

The Portuguese has scored 2 hat-tricks against Atlético Madrid (one with Real Madrid and the other with Juventus) and 7 other hat-tricks - against Ajax, Galatasaray, Shakhtar Donetsk, Malmö, Wolsburg and Bayern Munich.

The Juventus striker has scored 4 hat-tricks in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, which is a record in the competition.

Messi celebrates his 8th Champions League hat-trick against PSV Eindhoven in 2018-19
Messi celebrates his 8th Champions League hat-trick against PSV Eindhoven in 2018-19

Like Ronaldo, Messi also has 8 hat-tricks in the Champions League. He has achieved the feat against Arsenal, Viktoria Plzen, Bayer Leverkusen, Ajax, APOEL, Celtic, Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven.

The Barcelona captain has scored 2 of his 8 hat-tricks in the Champions League knockout rounds.

Penalties

Ronaldo has scored 18 of his Champions League goals from the penalty spot while missing 3, for a success rate of 86%. The Portugal captain has scored 3 penalties past Juventus's legendary keeper Gianluigi Buffon.

Messi has scored 12 goals in a Champions League game from the penalty spot, missing 3, for a success rate of 80%. The Argentinian has scored 4 penalties past now retired AC Milan custodian Christian Abbiati.

Direct free-kicks

Ronaldo has scored 12 direct free-kicks in 11 Champions League games for Manchester United (2) and Real Madrid (9), 5 of the efforts being match-winning goals. Man United and Real Madrid have won each of the 11 Champions League games where Ronaldo scored a free-kick.

Messi has 5 goals from direct free-kicks in as many Champions League games for Barcelona, 4 of the goals being match-winning ones. Barcelona won each of the 5 games where Messi scored a free-kick.

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