Lionel Messi vs Robert Lewandowski: Who has been the more prolific goalscorer in 2019?
Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi have scored goals galore in 2019. Not surprisingly, the duo were two of the 30 nominees for the 2019 Ballon d'Or award.
While Messi ended up winning a record sixth Ballon d'Or based on stellar performances during the year for club and country, the exploits of Robert Lewandowski weren't too far behind either.
Both players were the top-scorers in their respective leagues last season, with Messi scoring 36 goals in 34 games for Barcelona in the Spanish Primera Liga and Lewandowski scoring 22 in 33 games for Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga.
The duo has continued their strong start to the season, with Messi just a goal behind league top-scorer Karim Benzema, and Lewandowski leading the Bundesliga scoring charts by three goals over nearest challenger Timo Werner of RB Leipzig.
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In the Champions League this season, Messi broke new ground, while Lewandowski has set a scorching pace atop the scoring leaderboard. Let us analyse the goal-scoring exploits of the duo in various competitions:
#1: League football
Messi scored 21 goals in 19 games in the Primera Liga since the turn of the year as Barcelona sealed their 4th league title in 5 seasons. In the process, Messi tied the legendary Telmo Zarra's record of 6 Pichichi awards.
The Barcelona captain missed four games of the 2019-20 season before becoming the first player to score in 16 consecutive LaLiga seasons. A few games later, Messi tied Cristiano Ronaldo's record of 34 LaLiga hat-tricks by scoring three goals against Celta Vigo en route to scoring nine goals in as many games.
Lewandowski scored 12 goals in 17 Bundesliga games in the first half of the year as Bayern Munich sealed a seventh consecutive league title. In 2019-20, the Poland international became the first player to score in each of the opening 11 games of a Bundesliga season en route to topping the scoring leaderboards with 16 goals in 13 games.
Messi wins this duel on account of having scored more goals and also possessing a better goal's per game ratio (30 goals in 28 games at 1.07 goals per game) against Lewandowski's (28 goals in 30 games at 0.93 goals per game).
#2: UEFA Champions League
Lewandowski failed to score in both legs of Bayern Munich's 3-1 Round of 16 aggregate defeat to eventual winners Liverpool in the Champions League last season. However, the prolific marksman is one of two players (the other being Erling Braut Haaland) to have scored on each Matchday of the 2019-20 season, en route to topping the scoring charts with 10 goals.
The Poland international's four-goal blitz in Bayern's 6-0 Matchday 5 win at Crvena Zvezda was the fastest quadruple recorded in the history of the competition as the striker became only the second player (Lionel Messi being the other) to score multiple quadruple's in the competition.
Messi scored six goals in as many games in the knockout round of the Champions League last season as Barcelona fell to eventual winners Liverpool in the semi-finals.
This season, Messi became the first player to score in 15 consecutive seasons in the competition when he scored in Barcelona's 2-1 away at Slavia Praha.
On Matchday 5, Messi scored in the Catalan club's 3-1 home win over Borussia Dortmund to become the first player in the Champions League to score against 34 different teams.
Lewandowski wins this round of the duel, owing to his tally of 10 goals in 7 games (1.43 goals per game), as against Messi's 8 goals in 11 games (0.7 goals per game).
#3: Other club competitions
Messi scored five goals in three Copa Del Rey games since the turn of the year, as Barcelona lost 1-2 to Valencia. The Argentine is yet to appear in the competition this season.
Lewandowski scored six goals in four DFB Pokal games in the first half of the year, including two in Bayern's 3-0 win over Leipzig in the final as the Bavarian club won a record-19th title in the competition. The prolific Pole has scored one goal in two DFB Pokal games this season, while he went scoreless in the 2019 DFB Super Cup final as Bayern lost 0-2 to Borussia Dortmund.
This round also goes to the Pole, as he scored seven goals in seven other club competition games this year, compared to Messi's tally of five in three games.
#4: International Football
Lewandowski wins this duel hands down. The Bayern Munich striker scored six goals in 10 Euro 2020 qualifying games as Poland qualified for the quadrennial tournament next summer.
Messi had a poor Copa America 2019 outing for Argentina, scoring one goal in five games as the Albiceleste exited the competition following a semi-final defeat to eventual winners Brazil. In two friendlies during the year, Messi scored two goals, for a total return of three goals in eight games for his country in 2019.
Lewandowski scored a total of 51 goals in 53 games for club and country in 2019, winning the league title and the DFB Pokal, while leading his country to Euro 2020.
Messi scored 44 goals in 52 games for club and country and his lone title of the year came in the form of the LaLiga, where Barcelona won their fourth Spanish top-flight title in five seasons.
Thus, the final verdict goes in favour of Lewandowski as he has not only scored more goals (51) than Messi (44) but has done so at a better goal per game ratio (0.97) than the Argentine (0.85).