• Messi vs Ronaldo: There has been a never-ending debate to determine the greatest of all time
  • The two have made and broken several records over the years
  • Soccer currently is suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic

Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi: Who is the best soccer player of all time? This debate has been on for more than a decade now. Even though they are approaching the twilight years of their careers, they are always busy making or breaking a record. The numbers emphasize their consistency, longevity and sheer goal-scoring prowess.

Before the soccer season was halted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Messi was on the top of the 2019-20 La Liga scoring charts with 21 goals under his belt, while Ronaldo in Serie A was second in the list having scored 21 times.

While there is no certainty of the soccer season’s resumption, here is a list of extraordinary statistics that set the duo of Messi and Ronaldo separate from rest of the players:

Most league goals in Europe’s top-five leagues

Ronaldo has netted 440 league goals to Messi’s 438. Putting that into perspective, even if these two don’t score again and Harry Kane goes on to score 30 goals a season for the next decade, he will still not match Ronaldo’s 440 as he will fall short by four goals.

Most goals in a single season in Europe’s top-five leagues (across tournaments)

In the 2011-12 season, Messi had netted 73 goals for Barcelona across all competitions. He leads the chart ahead of Ronaldo, whose highest was 61 goals in 2014-15 season. Giving this more perspective: Last season three players were joint leading goal-scorers in the Premier League. Even if we add up tallies of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, that’ll still be seven less than Messi’s 73 goals in a single season.

50 goals-a-season for the most number of consecutive seasons

Ronaldo has scored 50 or more goals for six straight seasons, while Messi has done that for three consecutive seasons. Overall, Messi has netted 50 or more goals in a single season for a total of six times.

In the history of soccer, apart from these two only four other players have scored 50 or more goals in a season: Dixie Dean (one season at Everton), Isidro Langara (at Real Oviedo), Luis Suarez (one season at Barcelona) and Gerd Muller (5 consecutive seasons at Bayern Munich).

Most number of goals scored (club and international) in a calendar year

The Argentinean leads the chart in this category having scored a total of 91 goals (Barcelona + Argentina) in 2011 ahead of Portugal’s Ronaldo, who’s best was 69 goals in 2012. Meanwhile, Ronaldo (32) leads Messi (25) for scoring more international goals in a calendar year.

ronaldo messi
Sir Alex Ferguson chose Cristiano Ronaldo, left, over Lionel Messi, right, when discussing who's the better of the Ballon d'Or winners. Getty Images

Most Champions League goals

With 128 goals, Ronaldo leads the category ahead of arch-rival Messi, who has so far netted 114 goals in Europe’s premium tournament.

Most Champions League goals in a single season

The first three slots in this list belong to the Portuguese legend as Ronaldo has scored 17, 16 and 15 goals in three separate seasons. With 14 goals during the 2011-12 season, Messi falls fourth in the list.