They’ve been going at it for almost a decade, and it appears that there’s genuinely no separating Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo when it comes to breaking records.
Not a season goes by with one or the other setting a new mark in different facets of play, and it proves to be motivational for each. We, as the watching public, are truly blessed to have enjoyed such other-worldly talent and for so long. The question of who is the best will continue to be asked, and there are cogent arguments to make for both.
What’s clear is that Ronaldo still has some way to go to beat certain records that Messi has set, and they may be records that the Portuguese will never achieve. Let’s take a look at what they are…
1. Scoring a direct free-kick 10 seasons in a row
Messi’s best free kick in his career? pic.twitter.com/0OvTKS5aem
— LioMessiStuff (@LioMessiStuff) November 2, 2018
When you consider how good a dead-ball specialist Ronaldo is, this record should be one that the Portuguese holds. However, his incredible drought in 2015, where he missed over 50 successive direct free-kicks, has put paid to this particular record for good.
Messi scored his first on October 4, 2008 against Atletico Madrid and has found the net in this manner in every subsequent season.
2. Most El Clasico goals and assists
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 29, 2018
Before Ronaldo and Messi came on the scene, Alfredo di Stefano was the King of El Clasico. It was thought that his numbers in this incredible fixture would never be beaten, but the sheer regularity with which Messi has imposed himself is astonishing.
With regards to assists, Ronaldo barely registers with just one in the 30 El Clasico matches he took part in. The Argentinian has the all-time record of 14, and still has time to push that figure even higher.
Eighteen goals from Ronaldo places him equal to Di Stefano in this fixture, but once again Messi is well out in front with 26 and counting. After the Portuguese’s move to Juventus, there’s no way he’ll be breaking this one.
Scoring against all La Liga teams in succession and 21 games consecutively
2-1 (30′) Lionel Messi sets a La Liga record by scoring against a 36th different opponent. He overtakes Raúl and Aritz Aduriz on 35. pic.twitter.com/qpzHgNT1MS
— Enock Essel Top Skanka (@firminorob39) February 24, 2018
Ronaldo has managed to score against every La Liga team that he’s played against, and that’s an achievement in itself. However, to score against each team in the Spanish top flight one after the other really is a special record.
19 teams consecutively succumbed to Messi’s genius in 2012/13, and even after an enforced injury break, the No.10 went on and scored in his first two games back, making it 21 games in succession that he’d found the back of the net. Crazy!
73 goals in a season, 91 in a calendar year (79 for his club)
Not only did Messi score a world record 91 goals in 2012, but he scored some absolutely beauties along the way.
Here’s 20 of the best:pic.twitter.com/CW2P6NlAx7
— LioMessiStuff (@LioMessiStuff) October 29, 2018
It’s often said that Ronaldo is the greatest striker to have ever played the game. That’s open to debate of course, but even in his pomp he’s never come close to the figures that Messi set in the 2011/12 season and the calendar year 2012.
It was a period when you expected the Argentinian to score every time he set foot on the pitch, and more often than not he did – despite ostensibly not being the main striker.
His numbers harked backed to halcyon days, and only as they began to climb did statisticians begin to scour the record books. Surely Messi couldn’t equal the great ‘Der Bomber,’ Bayern’s Gerd Muller?
With 73 goals in all competitions in 2011/12, he surpassed the mark of 67 set by the German in 1972/73. Muller had also scored an incredible 85 goals in 1972, but Messi even managed to topple that one with 91 in 2012.
Of those yearly totals, Muller had scored 72 of them for Bayern (another record), whilst Messi again exceeded it with 79 of his 91 for Barcelona.
5. Four Ballon d’Or’s in a row
🗣️ Gerard Piqué: “If the Ballon d’Or really was given to the best player in the world, Messi should win every Ballon d’Or since 2009.”
— infosmessi (@INFOSMESSl) October 31, 2018
Though it’s unlikely that Ronaldo will win the gong again, it’s possible. One can never say never in football of course. However, there was simply no one to rival Messi between 2009 and 2012 and that’s the reason why he won four in a row.
The best the Portuguese has managed to this point is two in a row, twice. He’d need to win it both this and next year just to equal Messi’s haul.