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Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo in major finals: Who has performed better?

ANALYST
Feature
2.27K   //    18 Jan 2019, 21:23 IST

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have both been fantastic servants of the Beautiful Game
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have both been fantastic servants of the Beautiful Game

Consider this - your team are about to play in the final of a prestigious tournament and you can select only one of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in your team. Who would you pick among those two for the game? Seems like a pretty hard decision, isn't it?

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the only goal of the game as Juventus beat AC Milan in the final of the Supercoppa Italiana this week. It is the first trophy of the Portuguese in the colours of Juventus and hopefully, it will be the first of many trophies that he will win in Turin. While Cristiano revels in the glory of his latest triumph, there is a very interesting data that has come up involving his rivalry with Lionel Messi.

Juventus v AC Milan - Italian Supercup
Juventus v AC Milan - Italian Supercup

The Argentinean is regarded by many as the best in the world right now and his competition with the Portuguese has been intense ever since they broke into the scene more than a decade ago. The world has been divided on their opinion of who is the superior of the two and there have been various instances where one has bettered the other.

But once we consider the influence both these players have had in major finals in their career, there is only one clear winner between the two.

Cristiano Ronaldo has 27 appearances in major finals, which includes games for Real Madrid, Manchester United, Portugal and now Juventus. He has won 20 of those 27 games, which puts him at a better win percentage (74.07 %) than his rival.

As a part of his National team, the Portuguese was involved in 2 finals. He lost the 2004 Euro Finals at home to Greece but won the 2016 Euro Finals. However, he could neither score, nor provide an assist in both games. All of his goal contributions were in the 25 finals he played for his clubs; the Portuguese won 19 of those game (76%), scoring 19 goals and picking up 2 assists.

On the contrary, Lionel Messi has appeared in 33 finals for club and country and has won 23 of those (69.7%). The Argentinean's record with his country is not so good, as Messi has played 5 finals with his National team and won just one - the Olympic gold medal against Nigeria in Beijing. He has not scored in any of those 5 games, however, he has picked up one assist.

It is important to note that Messi did score a brace in the FIFA Under-20 Finals, a trophy he won with his National Team, but that has not been taken into consideration here due to the nature of the tournament.

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Messi has been phenomenal for Barcelona in major finals
Messi has been phenomenal for Barcelona in major finals

With Barcelona though, the Argentinean has been massive in major finals. He has played in 28 finals and scored 28 goals, while also registering 13 assists. His has also won 22 of those 28 games (78.57%).

So who of these two are more effective in major tournaments so far? Ronaldo has scored 19 goals in 27 games, registering 2 assists and averages a spectacular 0.77 goal contributions per major final so far.

Messi has scored 28 goals and registered 14 assists in 33 games and averages a mammoth 1.27 goal contributions per game in major finals. Both records are outstanding, but there is only one clear winner. The Portuguese is generally phenomenal in most of his games, however, his record in tournament finals is inferior to Lionel Messi so far.

Who would you rather have in your team in a final? Let us know in the comments below.

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ANALYST
Deepungsu works 6 days a week, plays football on weekends, but thinks about the beautiful game every minute of the day. He tries to sprinkle his love of football in his writings. Diego Maradona made him fall in love with Football, Paul Scholes showed him how beautiful the game could be and Lionel Messi made him believe in the impossible. Manchester United has kept him sane for the last two decades.
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