Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at international level

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Statistical summary

As we can see, the contribution in attack of both players to their national teams is very similar. In the case of Messi with a higher percentage of assists, and in the case of Cristiano Ronaldo with a higher percentage of goals scored.

Goals generated

As we can see, Leo Messi generates, counting goals and assists, goals per game. If we calculate the average FIFA Ranking of all the teams he has faced, the result is #. Cristiano Ronaldo, counting goals and assists, generates goals per game, against statistically weaker teams. The average FIFA Ranking of his opponents is #.

Goals generated in friendly games

In friendly games, Leo Messi generates, counting goals and assists, goals per game. The average FIFA Ranking of his opponents in friendlies is #. Cristiano Ronaldo, counting goals and assists, generates goals per friendly match, against teams that are also significantly weaker (average FIFA ranking #).

Goals generated in official games

Finally, in official games, Leo Messi generates, counting goals and assists, goals per game. The average FIFA Ranking of his opponents in official matches is #. Cristiano Ronaldo, counting goals and assists, generates goals per official match, against teams that, once again, are statistically weaker than those of Leo Messi (average FIFA ranking #).

What types of games do they play?

In these graphics we can see that Leo Messi plays more friendly matches than Cristiano Ronaldo. Note that they practically have played the same friendly matches in their careers, even though Cristiano is almost 2 and a half years older.

This is mainly due to the fact that in South America there are no Copa América Qualifiers, while in Europe, European Championship Qualifiers are played.

Stats per tournament

Opponents per FIFA Ranking

Next we will see what the level of their opponents is, according to the FIFA World Ranking. First we will see the global, and then the breakdown between friendly and official.

In global we can see that Messi plays most of his matches against teams from the first 75 places of the FIFA Ranking, and very few games against lower level opponents.

On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo also plays most of his matches against teams from TOP75, but he also plays a considerable number of games against teams with lower rank.

In friendly matches the trend remains similar, with their opponents concentrated in the first 75 places of the ranking, and more games for Cristiano Ronaldo against weaker teams.

Finally, in official matches, again most of their matches are against TOP75 teams, and again we can see that Cristiano Ronaldo plays a significant number of official matches against lower level teams.

This is mainly due to the fact that in European Championship Qualifiers, Cristiano Ronaldo has played 21 official matches against the teams of Andorra, Azerbaijan, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Luxembourg, all with FIFA Ranking lower than #100, while Leo Messi has only played 2 official matches against teams with FIFA Ranking lower than #100, both against Bolivia. In these matches, Cristiano Ronaldo has added 27 goals to his account.

Against which opponents do they score the most?

Having seen what kind of matches they play, and against what kind of opponents, we will see which teams they have scored goals against. In the tables below you can see the first 10, and by pressing the lower button you can display the complete list.

Analyzing the global data we see that Messi scores most of his goals against TOP75 teams, while Cristiano Ronaldo scores almost half of his goals against lower levels teams.

Most goals in friendly games

In friendlies, Leo Messi concentrates his goals in matches against opponents of the world’s TOP25, while Cristiano Ronaldo stands out in the 26-50 group.

Most goals in official games

In official games, Leo Messi concentrates 75% of his goals against teams that are in the top 50 places of the FIFA Ranking, while Cristiano Ronaldo scores more than half of his goals against teams that are beyond the position #75.

Never scored against

Although they are two beasts, there are some teams that can boast of having faced them and not having received any goal from them.

In this section we can highlight that Messi has scored against all the teams he has faced 3 or more times.

For Cristiano Ronaldo, it should be noted that despite having played 4 games against Germany, 4 against France, 3 against Brazil, 3 against England, 2 against Italy and 1 against Uruguay, he has never been able to score against these World Champions.

International honours

Individual awards and achievements

For more information, you can check the complete lists of international games here:

Lionel Messi’s international games with Argentina

Cristiano Ronaldo’s international games with Portugal

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