Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have enjoyed spectacular careers over the past two decades and will go down in history as two of the best players to have ever graced the beautiful game. The two modern-day legends have redefined what it means to be a footballing great and have persistently defied their critics to deliver otherworldly performances.
With both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi approaching the twilight of their careers, there has been much debate and discussion pertaining to their rightful heirs. The likes of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland have been touted as the modern era's prodigies but that has not prevented Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from proving their extraordinary mettle on a weekly basis.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the goalscoring charts this season
Cristiano Ronaldo has become Juventus' match-winner this season and has been dragging the Bianconeri past the finish line every weekend in the Serie A. The Portuguese superstar has scored 34 goals in 41 appearances this season and has also managed five assists in the process.
In comparison, Lionel Messi has scored 29 goals in 39 matches in all competitions but has managed to amplify his scoring rate in 2021. The Argentine talisman endured a slow start to the season but has responded with an astonishing 16 goals in his last 13 league games to propel Barcelona back into the title race.
Lionel Messi has more assists than Cristiano Ronaldo at the moment and has set his teammates up on nine occasions this season. The Barcelona captain has dropped into a more creative role in the midfield in recent years and often dictates the Catalans' style of play.
While Lionel Messi has predictably been the beating heart of his team this season, Juventus have relied on Cristiano Ronaldo to finish their attacking moves in the final third. The former Real Madrid superstar has scored a whopping 58 per cent of Juventus' goals this season.
With 46 per cent of Barcelona's goals to his name this season, Lionel Messi is also not far behind but his creative responsibilities often prevent the Argentine from driving into the penalty area with striking regularity.
Lionel Messi outshines Cristiano Ronaldo as far as passing statistics are concerned and his impressive tally of 2.5 key passes per game in all competitions is more than twice that of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Who has been better this season?
Comparisons between the two giants of modern football have been raging on for several years now and it is near-impossible to put the debate to an end. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have evolved to adapt to different roles over the years and have both enjoyed exceptional campaigns so far.
Lionel Messi holds the edge at the moment, however, with Barcelona only four points off the top of the La Liga table. Messi has been at the forefront of every productive Barcelona move this season and has had a marginally more influential season than Cristiano Ronaldo so far.