Free kicks

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kick goals

Despite the negative streaks they may have at specific moments in their careers, there is no doubt that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of the best free kick takers of the last decades. In this section we will analyze this aspect of the game.

Some websites count one more free-kick goal for Cristiano Ronaldo, this one:

I only count direct free kicks from outside the box, from set pieces.

In this first graph we can see in which teams Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored their set pieces goals. We can see that Messi has scored most of his free kicks for FC Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid.

In this second graph we can see how Cristiano Ronaldo suffers a drastic reduction in the number of free kick goals in recent years, while Leo Messi experiences just the opposite trend, now scoring many more than before.

In the third graph we can see how Messi’s curve is much more pronounced than that of Cristiano Ronaldo, clearly representing how the Argentine is reaching the figures of the Portuguese, despite having scored his first free kick goal 5 seasons later. In season 2011/2012, the distance between the two came to be 26 goals, while today it is practically insignificant.

In the fourth graph we see how Cristiano Ronaldo scored more free kick goals until 27 years old, while Leo Messi found his excellence from that age onwards.

In the fifth graph we appreciate that Leo Messi has reached the number of free kick goals that Cristiano Ronaldo had at his age, undoing the difference of 16 goals they had at 27.

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