Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: all-time goals, career stats and trophies

Everything you need to know about the two superstar footballers

Having won 12 Ballon d’Or awards, countless trophies and setting a host of personal records between them, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will go down in history as two of the best footballers ever. With Messi now playing at Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS) and Ronaldo playing for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, we take a look at their profiles and all-time career statistics.

1. Player profile: Lionel Messi

Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi

Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi
(Image credit: Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lionel Messi spent the first 21 years of his career with FC Barcelona – where he won Spain’s La Liga title ten times and the Uefa Champions League four times – before joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2021. After two seasons in France, he signed for MLS team Inter Miami.

The Argentine “hasn’t had any problem adjusting to life” in Miami, said Fox Sports. As well as being among the goals he also helped the club win the 2023 MLS Leagues Cup after they beat Nashville SC on penalties in the final.

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After leading Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar, Messi was named the men’s player of the year at the 2022 Best Fifa Awards. The forward has now won the Fifa award twice and is one of the favourites to lift the Ballon d’Or for a record eighth time in 2023.

At Qatar 2022 Messi scored seven goals, including two in the final against France. He played his 1,000th career match as Argentina beat Australia in the round of 16.

Argentina also won the 2021 Copa America with Messi the top goalscorer in the competition. After winning a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Copa America triumph in 2021 was his first in senior international football. South American champions Argentina won the 2022 “Finalissima”, 3-0 against European champions Italy, with captain Messi named man-of-the-match at Wembley Stadium.

  • Full name: Lionel Andrés Messi
  • Nationality: Argentine
  • Age: 36
  • Born: 24 June 1987
  • Clubs: Inter Miami (2023-present); Paris Saint-Germain (2021-2023); Barcelona (2004-2021)
  • Ballon d’Or wins: 7 (2021, 2019, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009)
  • The Best Fifa Men’s Player: 2 (2022, 2019)
  • Champions League winners’ medals – 4: 2005-06, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2014-15 (all with Barcelona)
  • Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award: 2 (2023; 2019 joint winner with Lewis Hamilton)
  • Captained Argentina in their 2021 Copa America win
  • Captained Argentina in their 2022 Fifa World Cup win
  • 104 goals in 176 games for Argentina (both national records)

2. Player profile: Cristiano Ronaldo

Al-Nassr’s Cristiano Ronaldo

Al-Nassr’s Cristiano Ronaldo
(Image credit: Robbie Jay Barratt/AMA/Getty Images)

Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has played his club football with Sporting Lisbon (2002-2003), Manchester United (2003-2009 and 2021-2022), Real Madrid (2009-2018), Juventus (2018-2021) and Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia (2023-present).

The 38-year-old’s trophy collection includes five Champions League winners’ medals, plus league titles in England, Spain and Italy. At Qatar 2022 he became the first male player to score in five different Fifa World Cups.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo, who has scored more than 830 goals for club and country, is the top goalscorer in men’s international football with 123 goals for Portugal and holds the record for most international appearances (201). He won the European Championship with Portugal in 2016 and is also the all-time top goalscorer for Real Madrid (450) and in the Champions League (140).

On 12 August Ronaldo won his first trophy in Saudi Arabia, scoring twice in Al-Nassr’s 2-1 victory over Al-Hilal in the Arab Club Champions Cup final.

  • Full name: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro
  • Nationality: Portuguese
  • Age: 38
  • Born: 5 February 1985
  • Clubs: Al-Nassr (2023-present); Manchester United (2021-2022 and 2003-2009); Juventus (2018-2021); Real Madrid (2009-2018); Sporting Lisbon (2002-2003)
  • Ballon d’Or wins: 5 wins (2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2008)
  • The Best Fifa Men’s Player: 2 wins (2016 and 2017)
  • Champions League winners’ medals – 5: 2007–08 with Man Utd; 2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17 and 2017–18 with Real Madrid
  • Captained Portugal in their Euro 2016 win
  • All-time top goalscorer in men’s international football (123 goals)
  • All-time record men’s international appearances (201)
  • Top goalscorer in the Uefa Champions League (140 goals)
  • First male player to score in five different Fifa World Cups

3. All-time goals, career statistics and red cards

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

(Image credit: Getty Images)

All-time career stats (club and country, excluding club friendlies)

  • Ronaldo: 840 goals and 241 assists in 1,180 appearances
  • Messi: 819 goals and 361 assists in 1,040 appearances
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 63; Messi 57
  • Career goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.72; Messi 0.79
  • Penalties: Ronaldo 155; Messi 108

Club careers (excluding friendlies)

  • Ronaldo: 727 goals and 208 assists in 979 appearances
  • Messi: 715 goals and 308 assists in 865 appearances
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 53; Messi 48
  • Club goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.74; Messi 0.83
  • Penalties: Ronaldo 137; Messi 84

International careers (friendly and competitive matches)

  • Ronaldo for Portugal: 123 goals and 33 assists in 201 appearances
  • Messi for Argentina: 104 goals and 53 assists in 176 appearances
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 10; Messi 9
  • International goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.61; Messi 0.59
  • Penalties: Ronaldo 18; Messi 24

Career red cards: Messi 3, Ronaldo 11

Messi has been sent off three times in his career – twice for Argentina and once for Barcelona. He saw red just 43 seconds into his Argentina debut after coming on as a sub against Hungary in 2005. He was also sent off against Chile in the 2019 Copa America.

Messi’s third career red card – and first at club level – came on 17 January 2021. In Barcelona’s 3-2 Spanish Super Cup final loss against Athletic Bilbao, Messi walked after VAR spotted him lashing out against Asier Villalibre.

Ronaldo has been sent off 11 times in his career – once for Juventus, six times for Real Madrid and four times for Manchester United.

4. International football

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo
(Image credit: Bagu Blanco/Pressinphoto/Icon Sport)

Argentina star Messi has scored 104 goals in 176 international appearances – both all-time records for his nation. With 123 goals in 201 games for Portugal, Ronaldo holds both the all-time men’s records for international appearances and goals.

International careers (friendly and competitive matches)

  • Ronaldo for Portugal: 123 goals and 33 assists in 201 appearances
  • Messi for Argentina: 104 goals and 53 assists in 176 appearances
  • Hat-tricks: Ronaldo 10; Messi 9
  • International goal ratio: Ronaldo 0.61; Messi 0.59
  • Penalties: Ronaldo 18; Messi 24

Ronaldo’s Uefa European Championship finals record

  • Tournaments: 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020
  • All-time finals record: 14 goals in 24 matches
  • Euro 2004: two goals
  • Euro 2008: one goal
  • Euro 2012: three goals
  • Euro 2016: three goals (Portugal won the tournament)
  • Euro 2020: five goals (top scorer)

Messi’s Copa America finals record

  • Tournaments: 2007, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2021
  • All-time finals record: 13 goals in 34 matches
  • 2007 Copa America: two goals
  • 2011 Copa America: zero goals
  • 2015 Copa America: one goal
  • 2016 Copa América Centenario: five goals
  • 2019 Copa America: one goal
  • 2021 Copa America: four goals (Argentina won the tournament)

5. Trophies and awards

The duo have won 12 Ballon d’Or awards between them

The duo have won 12 Ballon d’Or awards between them
(Image credit: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

Messi club honours

  • Clubs: Inter Miami (2023-present); Paris Saint-Germain (2021-2023); Barcelona (2004-2021)
  • Spanish La Liga titles: 10
  • Spanish Copa del Rey: 7
  • Spanish Supercup: 7
  • Uefa Champions League: 4
  • Uefa Super Cup: 3
  • Fifa Club World Cup: 3
  • French Ligue 1 titles: 2
  • MLS Leagues Cup: 1

Messi international honours with Argentina

  • Fifa World Cup: 1 (2022)
  • Finalissima: 1 (2022)
  • 2021 Copa America winner and golden boot winner
  • Fifa Under-20 World Cup: 1 (2005)
  • Olympic Gold Medal: 1 (2008)
  • Record number of appearances for Argentina: 175
  • Argentina all-time top goalscorer: 103 goals
  • Record number of World Cup appearances: 26

Ronaldo club honours

  • Clubs: Al Nassr (2023-present); Manchester United (2021-2022 and 2003-2009); Juventus (2018-2021); Real Madrid (2009-2018); Sporting Lisbon (2002-2003)
  • English Premier League titles: 3
  • English FA Cup: 1
  • English Football League Cup: 2
  • Spanish La Liga titles: 2
  • Spanish Copa del Rey: 2
  • Spanish Supercup: 2
  • Uefa Champions League: 5 (four with Real Madrid, one with Man Utd)
  • Uefa Super Cup: 2
  • Fifa Club World Cup: 4 (three with Real Madrid, one with Man Utd)
  • Portugal Super Cup: 1
  • Italian Supercoppa: 2
  • Italian Serie A titles: 2
  • Arab Club Champions Cup: 1

Ronaldo international honours with Portugal

  • Uefa European Championship titles: 1 (2016)
  • Uefa Nations League titles: 1 (2019)
  • All-time leading scorer in men’s international football (123 goals)
  • All-time men’s international appearances (200)
  • All-time leading scorer in European Championship history (14 goals in 25 tournament matches)
  • Euro 2020 golden boot winner

Ronaldo vs. Messi: Ballon d’Or wins

  • Ronaldo – 5 wins: 2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2008
  • Messi – 7 wins: 2021, 2019, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

Messi’s European Golden Shoe awards

  • 2009-10: 34 goals
  • 2011-12: 50 goals
  • 2012-13: 46 goals
  • 2016-17: 37 goals
  • 2017-18: 34 goals
  • 2018-19: 36 goals

Ronaldo’s European Golden Shoe awards

  • 2007-08: 31 goals
  • 2010-11: 40 goals
  • 2013-14: 31 goals (shared with Luis Suarez)
  • 2014-15: 48 goals

6. Hat-tricks

Man Utd’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his first goal against Tottenham

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrating a goal for Manchester United
(Image credit: Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

The duo have scored a “mind-boggling” 120 hat-tricks between them in their glittering careers, said the, with Ronaldo leading the head-to-head 63-57. Messi scores a hat-trick “every 18.2 games on average”, while Ronaldo scores a hat-trick “every 18.7 games played”.

Of Ronaldo’s 63 career hat-tricks, he scored 44 for Real Madrid, three for Manchester United, three for Juventus, and is currently on 10 for Portugal and three for Al-Nassr – the most recent coming in a 5-0 win against Al Fateh in the Saudi Pro League on 25 August 2023.

The latest of Messi’s 57 career hat-tricks was for Argentina in the 7-0 win over Curacao on 28 March 2023. He has nine hat-tricks for his country and previously scored 48 hat-tricks for Barcelona.

7. Fifa World Cup

Lionel Messi kisses the World Cup in Qatar

Lionel Messi kisses the World Cup in Qatar
(Image credit: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

It was the perfect end to Lionel Messi’s World Cup story. At Qatar 2022, the Argentina captain’s fifth and final World Cup, he achieved his lifelong dream of lifting the trophy for his country.

With two goals in the epic final against France, and a penalty in the shoot-out, Messi inspired Argentina to an unforgettable victory at the Lusail Stadium. He was also awarded the golden ball for the tournament’s best player and only missed out on the golden boot after Kylian Mbappé’s brilliant hat-trick saw the French striker finish with eight goals. Messi scored seven goals and also provided three assists in Qatar, and he moved above Brazil legend Pele on the World Cup all-time goalscorer list.

Messi’s brilliant tournament saw him break a host of records. He is now Argentina’s all-time highest goalscorer in World Cups with 13 goals. And he also has the highest number of appearances in men’s World Cup history, with 26.

Messi “not only emulated the deity of Argentinian football”, Diego Maradona, but he “finally plugged the burning gap on his CV”, winning the “one title that has eluded him”, said David Hytner in The Guardian. “In the process he gilded his claim to being recognised as the greatest player of them all.”

Cristiano Ronaldo also made history at Qatar 2022 as Portugal reached the quarter-finals, where they lost to Morocco 1-0. He became the first men’s player to score in five separate World Cup tournaments. His World Cup record stands at eight goals in 22 appearances.

Messi and Ronaldo at the World Cup

Here we take a look at their World Cup stats, according to

Messi’s World Cup stats

  • Games: 26
  • Goals: 13
  • Assists: 8
  • Minutes played: 2,314

Messi’s World Cup tournament goals: 13

  • 2006: 1
  • 2010: 0
  • 2014: 4
  • 2018: 1
  • 2022: 7

Ronaldo’s World Cup stats

  • Games: 22
  • Goals: 8
  • Assists: 2
  • Minutes played: 1,762
  • Hat-tricks: 1 – against Spain in 2018

Ronaldo’s World Cup tournament goals: 8

  • 2006: 1
  • 2010: 1
  • 2014: 1
  • 2018: 4
  • 2022: 1

8. Uefa Champions League

The Uefa Champions League trophy

(Image credit: Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Ronaldo vs. Messi in European football

Statistics according to

  • Champions League goals (group stage to final): Ronaldo 140 (21 for Man Utd; 105 for Real Madrid; 14 for Juventus); Messi 129 (120 for Barcelona; 9 for PSG)
  • Total Uefa competition goals (Champions League and Europa League): Ronaldo 144; Messi 132
  • Champions League hat-tricks: Ronaldo 8; Messi 8
  • All-time Champions League group stage goals: Ronaldo 73; Messi 80
  • Did you know? Ronaldo is the only player to score in three Uefa Champions League finals, and the first to score in 11 successive Champions League matches

Champions League head-to-head

  • Ronaldo Champions League stats: 140 goals, 40 assists, 183 appearances
  • Messi Champions League stats: 129 goals, 38 assists, 169 appearances
  • Ronaldo Champions League winners’ medals – 5: 2007-08 (with Man Utd); 2013-14, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 (with Real Madrid)
  • Messi Champions League winners’ medals – 4: 2005-06, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2014-15 (all with Barcelona)
  • Career hat-tricks in the Champions League: 8 each

9. Their last ever meeting?

Cristiano Ronaldo battles with Lionel Messi in the Riyadh friendly match

Cristiano Ronaldo battles with Lionel Messi in the Riyadh friendly match
(Image credit: Aurelien Meunier/PSG/Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have possibly shared a football pitch for the final time in their glittering careers. In an exhibition game between a Riyadh All-Star XI and Paris Saint-Germain on 19 January 2023, Ronaldo scored twice in his first match in Saudi Arabia, while Messi scored once for PSG, who won the contest 5-4.

It was a “thrilling” match in the Saudi capital city as the “two GOATs faced off”, said Shamoon Hafez on BBC Sport. And it was “fitting” that Ronaldo’s first game in the Gulf was against his “old foe” Messi, who lifted the World Cup in neighbouring Qatar just a month before.

The star duo have “contested” El Clasico, “fought it out” in the Champions League, “squared off” in the colours of their country, and “together they have reached such magnificent heights”, said Riath Al-Samarrai in the Daily Mail. Messi’s “still on top of the world” and Ronaldo “has got his payday”, but against “a backdrop of Saudi sportswashing”, the end of this “once-great rivalry” is certainly “tinged with sadness”.

10. What people say about Messi

Argentina captain Lionel Messi at the World Cup in Qatar

Argentina captain Lionel Messi at the World Cup in Qatar
(Image credit: Anthony Bibard/FEP/Icon Sport/Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo: “I really admire the career he has had so far, and, for his part, he has already said that he had trouble when I left the Spanish league because it is a rivalry that he appreciates. It is a good rivalry that exists in football, but this is no exception. Michael Jordan had rivals in basketball, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were great rivals in Formula One, the only common point between all the big rivalries in the sport is that they are healthy.”

Gigi Buffon: “When I met Messi I reached out and touched him. I needed to make sure he was human like the rest of us.”

Ronaldinho: “When I look back on my career, the most enjoyable thing was seeing the early years of Leo Messi. When he retires, football – not just Barcelona – should retire the No.10 shirt.”

Pep Guardiola: “He is the best player I have ever seen. The best thing about him is not what he does but how simple he makes everything look.He is not just the best player because he can dribble past three or four players, it is because he does it better than anyone in the world.”

Neymar: “I played with Messi, who is, for me, one of the greatest footballers of all time, and he is my idol in football.”

Diego Maradona: “I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentine football and his name is Messi. Messi is a genius.”

David Beckham: “He [Messi] is alone in his class as a player, it is impossible that there is another like him. He, like Cristiano Ronaldo, who is not at his level, are both above the rest.”

11. What people say about Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo was captain as Portugal won Euro 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo was captain as Portugal won Euro 2016
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lionel Messi: “(Ronaldo) is always there scoring goals in all the games and taking part in his club and national side. He has been doing that for many years and whether he is at his peak or a bit below it makes no difference.”

Brazil legend Pele, after Ronaldo reached 770 official goals: “Life is a solo flight. Each makes his own journey. And what a beautiful journey you are having. I admire you a lot, I love watching you play and this is no secret to anyone. Congratulations on breaking my record of goals in official matches. My only regret is not being able to give you a hug today.”

George Best: “There have been a few players described as the new George Best over the years, but this is the first time it’s been a compliment to me.”

Zinedine Zidane: “When you play with Ronaldo on your team, you are already 1-0 up.”

Gerard Pique: “The best player I have ever played against has to be Ronaldo. You cannot afford to take your eyes off him.”

Paolo Di Canio: “Messi left the pitch scratching his head, he has no emotions. I prefer Cristiano Ronaldo. ‘Do you want me to sit on the bench against Man City?’ I go back to Portugal, then I return and score a hat-trick. I prefer the human who has a soul to the alien without emotions.”

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Mike Starling is the digital features editor at The Week, where he writes content and edits the Arts & Life and Sport website sections and the Food & Drink and Travel newsletters. He started his career in 2001 in Gloucestershire as a sports reporter and sub-editor and has held various roles as a writer and editor at news, travel and B2B publications. He has spoken at a number of sports business conferences and also worked as a consultant creating sports travel content for tourism boards. International experience includes spells living and working in Dubai, UAE; Brisbane, Australia; and Beirut, Lebanon.