Busting 10 myths and legends about Cristiano Ronaldo


Cristiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the best footballers in history, but a number of myths have been created around his figure that are not always true. In this article we are going to bust some of them by using data.

He has replaced Leo Messi as best scorer of El Clásico

Myths Cristiano Ronaldo

In the last Clásicos played, Messi’s performances have been rather discreet, while Cristiano Ronaldo has scored key goals that have made him the protagonist. This has meant that in social networks has spread that Cristiano Ronaldo is already more decisive than Messi in El Clásico.

The data reflect the following situation:

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 16 goals in 26 Clásicos (0.61 goals per game).
He has played 2,289 minutes in El Clásico, so we can say he scores a goal every 143 minutes.
Messi has scored 21 goals in 33 Clásicos (0.64 goals per game).
He has played 2,924 minutes in El Clásico, so we can say he scores a goal every 139 minutes.

That is, in the history of El Clásico, Messi still has better stats than Cristiano Ronaldo.

[bctt tweet=”Messi continues to have better numbers than Cristiano Ronaldo in El Clásico” username=”michelinho80″]

However, if we tighten the sample only to the Clásicos that have been disputed from the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid, the situation changes:

For Cristiano Ronaldo we maintain the same numbers as before, 16 goals in 26 Clásicos (0.61 goals per game) and one goal every 143 minutes.
Messi, since 2009, has scored 15 goals in 27 Clásicos (0.56 goals per game) and has played 2,404 minutes in El Clásico, one goal every 160 minutes.

We can say then that Cristiano Ronaldo has had better scoring performance in the Clásicos played since his arrival at Real Madrid.

[bctt tweet=”Cristiano Ronaldo’s scoring rate in El Clásico has been higher than Messi since 2009″ username=”michelinho80″]

He is much more effective from the penalty spot than Messi

This is a half truth. Indeed, the effectiveness of Cristiano Ronaldo from the penalty point is greater than that of Leo Messi, as can be seen in this section of the web, but is there a significant difference?

Myths Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has 82.64% effectiveness today, while Messi only reaches 78.95%. If we round this to whole numbers (because you score or fail a penalty, you can’t score a little bit or fail a little bit), we get that they score about 8 out of 10 penalties that they kick. If we wanted to be more precise, we could say that from 10 penalties, Messi would score 7 without a doubt, the 8th with almost total safety, and would fail 2, while Cristiano would score 8 without a doubt, and most likely would also fail 2.

In short … we can not say that there is a significant difference between them in this respect.

[bctt tweet=”Both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo score 8 out of 10 penalties” username=”michelinho80″]

Cristiano Ronaldo scores more goals than Messi

If we refer to the absolute figures, we will see that today Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 581 goals in his career, by 551 Leo Messi. However, we can not forget that CR7 is almost 2 ½ years older than Messi, and debuted 2 seasons before the Argentinian. For this reason, we must go to the scoring averages to see which of the two scores the most.

[bctt tweet=”Messi’s scoring average is higher than Cristiano Ronaldo’s” username=”michelinho80″]

Throughout his career, Cristiano Ronaldo maintains an scoring average of 0.69 goals per game, by a 0.80 of Leo Messi. With that we could affirm that Leo Messi scores more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo, or that he does it with more frequency.

Myths Cristiano Ronaldo

Many fans of Ronaldo affirm that “if Cristiano Ronaldo had always played in Real Madrid” he would have many more goals. However, if we travel in time, to the seasons in which CR7 played at Manchester United (2003-2009), we can appreciate the following:


  • Real Madrid of the Zidanes and Pavones does not go beyond quarter-finals in Champions League, loses the Final of the “Copa del Rey” against Zaragoza, and finishes La Liga in 4ª position.
  • Manchester United win the FA Cup and Community Shield, and is third in the Premier League.


  • Real Madrid are knocked out in the knockout stage in the Champions League, eliminated in the knockout stages of the Copa del Rey by Valladolid, and are second in La Liga.
  • Manchester United is a finalist for the FA Cup, a finalist for the Community Shield and is third in the Premier League.


  • Real Madrid fall again in the knockout stages of the Champions League, is eliminated by Zaragoza in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, and is runner-up in La Liga.
  • Manchester United win the League Cup and is runner-up of the Premier League.


  • Real Madrid fall again in the knockout stages of the Champions League, is eliminated by Betis in the second round of the Copa del Rey, and this time does win La Liga.
  • Manchester United, meanwhile, is a Champions League semi-finalist, FA Cup finalist and wins the Premier League.


  • Real Madrid fall once again in the knockout stages of the Champions League, is eliminated in the knockout round of the Copa del Rey by Mallorca, and returns to win La Liga.
  • Manchester United win the Champions League, the Community Shield and the Premier League.


  • Real Madrid fall again in the knockout stages of the Champions League and is second in La Liga. In Copa del Rey is eliminated in the round of 32 by Real Union of Irún, Second Division B.
  • Manchester United reach their second consecutive Champions League final, losing it against FC Barcelona, they win the League Cup, the Club World Cup, the Community Shield and the Premier League.

[bctt tweet=”If Cristiano Ronaldo had played all his life in Real Madrid…” username=”michelinho80″]

As we can see, the years in which Cristiano Ronaldo was in Manchester, United was a very powerful club, several times Champions League finalist, winner of several Premier Leagues and English Cups, while Real Madrid was experiencing a major sports crisis. After the failure of the “Madrid of the Galacticos”, many of the signings that did not succeed, such as Diarra, Emerson, Gago, Robben, Heinze, Robinho, Julio Baptista or Walter Samuel arrived in the Spanish capital. Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed the company of Scholes, Keane, Giggs, Rooney, Van Nistelrooy, Rio Ferdinand, Evra, Vidic, Carrick or Tévez, forming a block virtually unchanged during these 6 seasons, which reaped a multitude of successes directed by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Myths Cristiano Ronaldo

In short, there are no objective reasons to claim that Cristiano Ronaldo, in that Real Madrid, would have achieved the stratospheric figures he has achieved from 2009 onwards, because that Real Madrid had nothing to do with the current super-team. In fact, we can say that much of Cristiano Ronaldo’s success in those seasons is because he was part of one of the two best teams in Europe, with FC Barcelona.

Cristiano Ronaldo triumphed in three different countries

Cristiano Ronaldo only played 30 games with Sporting Lisbon, scoring 5 goals. The only title he won with the Lisbon team was the 2002 Portuguese Super Cup.

Myths Cristiano Ronaldo

In some places you can read that Cristiano Ronaldo also got the Portuguese League and the Portuguese Cup with Sporting. If we refer to the dates, we can see the following:

5th May, 2002 – The season 2001/2002 of the League of Portugal ends, and Sporting is proclaimed champion.
12th May, 2002 – Sporting Lisbon wins the final of the Portuguese Cup to Leixoes.
14th August, 2002Cristiano Ronaldo makes his debut with Sporting Lisbon.
18th August, 2002 – Sporting Lisbon wins the final of the Supercopa de Portugal to Leixoes. Cristiano is called but does not play a minute.

[bctt tweet=”Cristiano Ronaldo did not win in the Portuguese League” username=”michelinho80″]

Returning to the initial statement… Cristiano Ronaldo did not triumph in Portugal, only in Manchester and Madrid, in both cases, surrounded by world-class stars.

Cristiano Ronaldo always appears in important matches

Throughout his career Cristiano Ronaldo has played 171 games in qualifying rounds (finals, semi-finals, quarter-finals, eighth, sixteenth, repechage, Champions League qualifiers, third and fourth place matches, etc.)

His balance in these 171 matches is as follows:

Sporting Lisbon

He played 6 games in qualifying and scored in 2

Manchester United

He played 67 games in qualifying and scored in 26

Real Madrid

He has played 81 games in qualifying and scored in 46

Selección de Portugal

He has played 17 games in qualifying and scored in 5

In summary, we can say that Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in 79 of the 171 games he has played in qualifying rounds, 46% of the games.

[bctt tweet=”Cristiano Ronaldo only scores in 46% of the games of eliminatory or final phases” username=”michelinho80″]

Myths Cristiano Ronaldo

Let us now analyze his performance in the duels of maximum rivalry or historical relevance, considering the following:

  • Sporting Lisbon against FC Porto or Benfica.
  • Manchester United against Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City or Arsenal.
  • Real Madrid against FC Barcelona or Atlético de Madrid.
  • Any of his three teams against Bayern München, Juventus or PSG, for being the most important clubs of the leagues in which he has not played.
  • At the national team level, any match of Portugal against Spain, Germany, England, Italy, France, Holland, Brazil or Argentina

The balance of Cristiano Ronaldo in these games translates into:

  • Sporting Lisbon: Played 3 games of maximum rivalry or difficulty and did not score in any.
  • Manchester United: Played 50 games of maximum rivalry or difficulty and scored in 11.
  • Real Madrid: Has played 62 games of maximum rivalry or difficulty and scored in 32.
  • National team of Portugal: Has played 26 games of maximum rivalry or difficulty and scored in 4.

In summary, Cristiano Ronaldo has played 141 games of maximum rivalry or historical difficulty, scoring in 47, 33% of the matches.

[bctt tweet=”Cristiano Ronaldo only scores in 33% of the matches considered of maximum difficulty” username=”michelinho80″]

He does not score so many penalty goals as to call him Penaldo

The truth is that he does score a lot of penalty goals.

As we can see in the chart of the homepage, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more than 16% of the goals from his career from the penalty spot.

[bctt tweet=”16% of Cristiano Ronaldo’s career goals have been from the penalty spot” username=”michelinho80″]

In order to give us an idea, if Messi and Ronaldo have taken away the goals they scored from the penalty spot, Messi would have scored 480 goals and CR7 487. Only 7 goals difference, and Cristiano Ronaldo has played 153 games more than Messi throughout his career.

Myths Cristiano Ronaldo

He led his National Team to win Euro 2016

Let’s analyze one by one the matches played by Portugal in the Euro Cup:

Portugal 1-1 Iceland

He played the 90 minutes, did not participate in the goal of Nani. The MVP of the game was Nani.

Portugal 0-0 Austria

Played 90 minutes, missed a penalty. The MVP of the match was Joao Moutinho.

Portugal 3-3 Hungary

He played 90 minutes, scored 2 goals and was chosen MVP of the match.

Portugal 1-0 Croatia (Round of 16)

He played the 120 minutes. The goal of Quaresma came after a rejection of the goalkeeper, after CR7 failed a clear chance of goal. The MVP of the match was Renato Sanches.

Portugal 1-1 Poland (Quarter-finals)

He played the 120 minutes. He scored his goal on the penalty shoot-out (the first). The MVP of the match was Renato Sanches.

Porgual 2-0 Wales (Semi-finals)

He played the 90 minutes. He scored the first goal of his team and was chosen MVP of the match.

Portugal 1-0 France (Final)

He was replaced in the 25th minute, injured.

Myths Cristiano Ronaldo

In summary, we can make the following evaluations:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo played 625 minutes in the Euro Cup, scoring 3 goals. One goal every 208 minutes of play
  2. Of the 7 games he played, he had only two outstanding performances.
  3. He had no influence on his team’s victory in the final.

[bctt tweet=”Cristiano Ronaldo did not lead his team in the Euro Cup” username=”michelinho80″]

Since playing at Real Madrid, he has better stats than Messi

Since playing in La Liga, Cristiano Ronaldo has achieved incredible goalscoring numbers, beating the goal per game. But is it really enough to overcome the numbers of Leo Messi?

In La Liga

  • Cristiano Ronaldo has played 22,199 minutes in 258 League matches with Real Madrid. He has scored 279 goals and distributed 79 assists. This results in an average of 1.08 goals per game. If we divide the minutes played between the goals scored, we can deduce that he scores a goal every 79 minutes and 34 seconds.
  • Messi, in the same period, has played 22,266 minutes in 264 matches with FC Barcelona. He has scored 283 goals and assisted 109 times. This results in a goal average per game slightly lower than that of Cristiano Ronaldo: 1.07. However, if we divide the minutes played between the goals scored, we can see that Messi scores one goal every 78 minutes and 41 seconds.

The conclusion is that Messi has a higher scoring average in La Liga than that of Cristiano Ronaldo during the period 2009-2017. In addition, having given 30 more assists than Cristiano Ronaldo, we can determine that Messi participates in a goal of his team every 56 minutes and 48 seconds, while CR7 does it every 62 minutes and 1 second.

In all competitions

If we look at all the competitions they have played in the period 2009-2017, the numbers also go in favor of Messi:

  • Between 2009 and 2017, Cristiano Ronaldo has played 33,028 minutes in 382 games with Real Madrid, for a result of 390 goals (1.02 per game) and 111 assists.
  • Between 2009 and 2017, Messi has played 34,722 minutes in 410 games with FC Barcelona, producing 414 goals (1.01 per game) and 156 assists.

Analysis of the figures establishes that Messi scores one goal every 83 minutes and 52 seconds for Barça, while Cristiano does it every 84 minutes with 41 seconds. Counting also assists, Messi participates in a goal every 60 minutes and 55 seconds, and Cristiano every 65 minutes and 55 seconds

In short, Messi beats Cristiano Ronaldo both in scoring rate and in influence in the goals of his team.

Myths Cristiano Ronaldo

[bctt tweet=”Messi surpasses all records of Cristiano Ronaldo since playing in Spain” username=”michelinho80″]

He is the best scorer in the history of Champions League

To this day, Cristiano Ronaldo is the player who has scored the most goals in the Champions League. He has scored a total of 95 goals, by 94 of Lionel Messi who is the second.

However, does that make him the most effective scorer in the history of Champions League?

Myths Cristiano Ronaldo

The simple comparison with Messi already collapses that theory, since the Argentinian has scored 94 goals in 113 matches (0.83 goals per game) while Cristiano Ronaldo has needed 22 more matches (135) to score his 95 goals (0.70 per game).

In addition, if we look at the scoring averages in the history of the competition, we see that Cristiano Ronaldo only reaches the eighth position:

  1. Gerd Müller (0.97)
  2. Ferenc Puskás (0.85)
  3. Alfredo Di Stefano (0.84)
  4. Lionel Messi (0.83)
  5. Jean-Pierre Papin (0.76)
  6. Eusébio (0.75)
  7. Ruud Van Nistelrooy (0.74)
  8. Cristiano Ronaldo (0.70)

[bctt tweet=”Cristiano Ronaldo has the 8th best scoring rate in the history of the Champions League” username=”michelinho80″]

He does not score as many goals to fill up statistics as his haters say

The truth is that Cristiano Ronaldo does score a lot of goals that are irrelevant for the result, which help him to inflate his statistics but have no special incidence for the victories or ties of his team.

Since Cristiano Ronaldo played for Real Madrid, there have been 109 games in which Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals have been irrelevant to the final result. That is to say, that subtracting the goals of CR7 the sign of the match (W-D-L) does not vary. The games in which his goals have been decisive have been 55.

If we count the goals, we get that 178 of the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo with Real Madrid in La Liga have been irrelevant. 64% of the total.

[bctt tweet=”64% of Cristiano Ronaldo’s League goals have been irrelevant” username=”michelinho80″]

Myths Cristiano Ronaldo

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