ionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo left a more indelible mark on the decade that was 2010-2019 than any other player during this time span.
The all-time scorer in Liga history with 432 goals, Messi recently overtook Ronaldo’s erstwhile record of 34 Liga hat-tricks. Following a belated start to the 2019-20 season, Messi became the first player to score in 16 consecutive Liga seasons and 15 in the Champions League, as well as the first to score against 34 different opponents in the latter competition.
Ronaldo is the Champions League’s all-time top-scorer with 128 goals scored against 33 different opponent teams.
Let us now do a comparative analysis of the duo’s performances in various competitions during the decade:
#1 Domestic leagues
Messi’s tally of 369 domestic league goals (all for Barcelona in the LaLiga) during the decade is 34 goals ahead of Ronaldo’s tally of 335 achieved for two clubs – Real Madrid (304) and Juventus (31).
The Argentinian’s domestic tally during this period is a standalone number that is more than 50 ahead of the second-best tally of goals in the Spanish top-flight – Ronaldo (311).
During this period, Messi won the Pichichi award (top-scorer in a season) on a record 6 occasions, doing so in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Ronaldo during this same period has top-scored in a domestic league on 3 occasions – 2011, 2014 and 2015 (all for Real Madrid in the LaLiga).
In this decade, Messi has won the domestic league title on 7 occasions (all for Barcelona), compared to Ronaldo’s tally of 3 which comprises 2 Liga triumphs with Real Madrid and 1 Serie A triumph with Juventus.
#2 Champions League
Ronaldo’s Champions League tally of 108 goals during the decade is 19 clear of Lionel Messi’s 95.
During this period, Ronaldo has been the top-scorer in a Champions League season on 6 occasions while Messi has done so on 5 occasions.
Ronaldo has won European club football’s blue riband event times (all for Real Madrid) during the decade, compared to Messi’s 2 triumphs.
#3 Domestic Cups
Lionel Messi has scored 40 Copa Del Rey goals during the decade compared to Cristiano Ronaldo’s corresponding tally of 22.
While the Argentinian has done so in 55 games for a goal rate of 0.73 per game, Ronaldo has scored his goals in 29 games at a marginally better rate of 0.76 per game.
However, if Ronaldo’s 2 scoreless games in the Coppa Italia are taken into account, the Portugal captain’s goal rate in domestic cup competitions during the decade drops down to 0.71.
#4 Other domestic competitions
Messi scored 11 goals in 15 Supercoppa Espana games during the decade compared to Ronaldo’s corresponding tally of 4 goals in 7 Supercoppa Espana games.
In 2 Supercoppa Italiana games for Juventus Ronaldo has 1 goal, for a total haul of 5 goals in 9 Super Cup games.
Messi again gets the verdict owing to a superior goal rate of 0.73 per game compared to Ronaldo’s goal rate of 0.55 per game.
#5 Other club competitions (Super Cup, Club World Cup)
At the FIFA Club World Cup, Ronaldo has scored 6 goals in 6 games during the decade while Messi has scored 3 goals in 3 games.
In the UEFA Super Cup, Ronaldo has scored 2 goals in as many games while Messi’s corresponding tally reads 3 goals in 2 games.
#6 In competitive games for national team
In 61 competitive outings for Argentina during this decade, Messi has scored 29 goals (7 at the Copa America, 5 at the World Cup and 17 in World Cup qualifying) at a rate of 0.48 goals per game.
During the same period, Ronaldo has scored 63 goals in 64 competitive appearances for Portugal – a tally which includes 6 goals at the World Cup, 19 goals in World Cup qualifiers, 4 in World Cup play-offs, 6 goals at the Euros, 23 goals in Euro qualifying, 2 in the Confederations Cup and 3 in the UEFA Nations League.
For his significantly superior of scoring rate of almost a goal per game (0.98) compared to Messi averaging less than a goal per 2 games (0.48), Ronaldo takes the honours in this category.
#7 International friendlies for national team
In all competitions in club football (all for Barcelona) during the decade, Messi has scored 519 goals in 520 games at a fabulous scoring rate of a goal per game.
During the same period, Ronaldo has scored 477 goals in 485 games for two clubs – Real Madrid and Juventus, scoring at a rate which is a shade under a goal per game (0.98).
Messi narrowly takes the honors in this sub-category owing to a marginally superior goals per game ration.
However, in international football during the decade, Messi (57 goals in 94 games for Argentina; 0.61 goals / game) has had a significantly lower scoring rate than Ronaldo (77 goals in 90 appearances for Portugal; 0.86 goals / game).
When club and international football tallies are combined for both players, Messi (576 goals in 614 games) scored 0.94 goals / game during the decade compared to Ronaldo (554 goals in 575 games) scoring at 0.96 goals / game.
WINNER: Ronaldo (by a wafer-thin margin)