Whether you are a hardcore football fan or not, there are two names that you are familiar with for sure – Messi and Ronaldo. Lionel Andres Messi is an Argentinian sensation who has been ruling football in all aspects since 2004. As a football lover, whenever you talk about Lionel Messi, Ronaldo also comes as the most popular competitor for the past two decades.
Ronaldo and Messi have unique specialties that make them the best at their craft. While one portrays you can achieve the highest of ranks with sheer god-gifted talent, the other one becomes a symbol of hard work and dedication. With their unique abilities, they have created the best rivalry in football history.
Is the rivalry still going strong after 20 years of head-on competition in 2023? That’s what we are going to find out below with an in-depth comparison of their performance. You will love this one as a Ronaldo, Messi, or football fan.
Lionel Messi in 2023
Lionel Messi fulfilled his destiny in 2022 with the World Cup win as a proud Argentinian player. Afterward, he made a move where he transferred from the European giants PSG to give himself a fresh new start at Inter Miami CF, a team from the growing MLS league.
The move was a bit of a shocker for many people, but Messi was unbothered and still spreading his magic with the American Football Club.
Performance and Achievements
Despite the age factor, Lionel Messi showed the same brilliance on the field with his vision and understanding of the game. He fit into the Inter Miami CF team and gelled well with all the players.
Let’s head over to his performance throughout the 2023-24 season. How many goals does Messi have, or how many assists does he have in the season? We get a glance at everything.
- Goals: In 2023, Messi has played for both PSG and Inter Miami across all competitions. He has had 36 appearances in total for the two teams and scored about 20 goals together for the club. He has 8 international goals throughout the year in 8 appearances.
- Assists: Messi has always been known as a playmaker rather than a striker. With his playmaking abilities, he always ends up assisting many goals. During the 2023 period, Messi had about 12 assists in 44 appearances for both club and country.
- Key matches: No matter what match Messi plays, he always leaves his mark on the field in almost every game.
He scored a hat-trick against New York City FC to take Inter Miami towards victory. It was on August 12, 2023.
Another key match for him in 2023 was with the national jersey, where Messi had a crucial assist for Lautaro Martinez to secure their spot in the 2026 World Cup.
Awards and Recognition in 2023
The first recognition of Messi in 2023 was Time Magazine’s Athlete of the Year in 2023. And, of course, the cherry on top was his 8th Ballon d’Or, a very significant accolade to achieve as a professional footballer.
Messi Career Stats in 2023
Below is a table summarizing all the statistical analyses of Lionel Messi’s performance in 2023 for both club and country.
|Goals per game
|1 (With Inter Miami CF)
Messi’s impact on the new team was quite evident on the field day in and day out. Consequently, the team became the top contender in many competitions, and they even won their first league title with Messi leading the charge.
As for the league, with Messi’s arrival to the MLS league, attendance had gone up by 5%, and Inter Miami saw a staggering 35% growth. He has already become a role model in the team and the league.
His contribution to making the league and the team popular is also prominent. He made a difference, not only to the Inter Miami team but also to the football scenario of the United States.
Cristiano Ronaldo in 2023
Similar to Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo also embarked on a new journey in the Saudi Arabian league with AL Nassr FC. Since Ronaldo’s exit from Manchester United was a bit controversial, his move to AL Nassr seemed like a sign of decline in his career.
However, Ronaldo proved that all the speculations and football predictions were true, and showed amazing soccer skills on the pitch. Throughout 2023, he showed why he is still one of the best soccer players in the world.
Let’s see how Ronaldo maintained his superior status as a world-class footballer in 2023 with his performance.
Performance and Achievements
Even though Cristiano Ronaldo is on the verge of his career-ending, he didn’t disappoint his fans and his team in 2023. He had exemplary performance in the Saudi League, where he took his team to victory quite a few times. They were able to secure the Saudi League Cup in the year as well.
Enough with his contribution to the team; let’s get on with his performance tracking. Because, at the end of the day, your value is defined by your abilities on paper.
- Goals: Ronaldo has always been considered a goal scorer, and he proved that fact with his performance in 2023. In his 56 appearances throughout the year for Club and Country, he scored 50 goals.
- Assists: Even though Ronaldo is not much of a playmaker who assists a lot, in 2023, he contributed to 14 goals.
- Key Matches: While Ronaldo performed exceptionally well throughout the year in the Saudi league, he dominated two of his matches. And he showed his highest goal-scoring level in those two matches.
In the first match, he played against Al-Wehda (February 9, 2023), where he scored 4 goals. It was a complete Ronaldo show that excited all the fans in the Saudi league.
Another commendable performance Ronaldo had in 2023 was his two-goal streak in the Saudi Super Cup final on January 28, 2023, where they got to win the cup for the first time in 7 years.
Awards and Recognition in 2023
Unfortunately, even after exceptionally performing in the Saudi league, he wasn’t able to bag any awards or special recognition. The only individual accolade Ronaldo had in 2023 was being the top-scorer in the Saudi Pro League with 31 goals throughout the season.
Ronaldo Career Stats in 2023
Here’s a quick table to show Ronaldo’s career stats in 2023, which is nothing but impressive.
|Goals per game
Impact on the new team
In the team game, Ronaldo has added the necessary shooting power. He made sure the team was constantly scoring goals and winning games. But the most significant impact of Ronaldo on Al Nassr was in the growth of the popularity of this club.
Al Nassr’s global profile and brand value increased a lot after Ronaldo joined the team. And it wasn’t just the team; it also elevated the Saudi Pro League’s popularity a lot. Many other top-end players are coming to play in the league, seeing the popularity,
Comparison of Messi vs Ronaldo in 2023
Now that we have taken a look at their performances and their achievements throughout the year, it’s time to dive into the comparisons. Cutting right to the chase, here’s an overall comparison of Messi and Ronaldo in the year 2023.
Comparison of Achievements and Records in 2023
Ronaldo’s achievement in 2023 was his Saudi Pro League Cup. As for his record, he scored 50 goals in a single calendar year for the 12th time in his career.
Compared to that, Messi had a lot more individual achievements. He won the Athlete of the Year by Times Magazine and the Ballon d’Or. It was his 8th Ballon d’Or which makes him the only player to achieve this goal.
Messi Vs Ronaldo Stats In Performance
If you are into numbers, then here’s a stat table where you get a complete picture of the performance comparison between the two legends.
|Goals per game
|Minutes per goal
|Free kick goals
|Outside the box
|Inside the box
Public and Expert Opinions
Ronaldo and Messi have been running the show on and off the field for more than two decades. So, they are always involved in public and expert discussions. Let’s check out public opinions on these two football kings in 2023.
On the positive side of public opinion, Messi received a lot of praise for his leadership, and contribution to the success of Inter Miami and Argentina. In the beginning, some questioned his move to MLS because it was a step down from a top European league.
According to some experts, Messi’s adaptation to MLS was nothing short of excellence. His impact on the league and the team was prominent from his debut match for the team. However, some experts doubted his physical abilities due to his age.
Some renowned football personalities had the following statements regarding Messi’s performance in 2023 –
- Pep Guardiola: “Messi is still the best player in the world. He’s showing it in America now.”
- Thierry Henry: “Messi is a magician. He can still make things happen even at his age. It’s incredible to watch.”
Most of the public opinion was strong towards Ronaldo’s goal-scoring abilities even after the transfer to Al Nassr. The negative thing they had to point out was that his move to Al-Nassr showed a lack of compassion.
Similar to public opinion, experts also expressed their acknowledgment of Ronaldo’s goal-scoring prowess. But, many of them also questioned whether he could be as impactful in the future for Al-Nassr. They also said his move to Al-Nassr was for money and not for the desire to compete.
Famous football personalities had some confusing remarks about Ronaldo. Their opinions were –
- Gary Neville: “I think he did very well in terms of goals. He has a character and a personality in which he does not accept not being the main man.”
- José Mourinho: “38 years old but most goals in 2023! If he ever decides to come back to Europe, there will always be space ready for him in my team. I will always welcome the greatest ever of this sport with open arms”.
Who’s better Messi or Ronaldo? No matter how many years go by, it’s always going to be difficult to answer this question. Both of them have shown their magic and excellence on the field time and time again.
Ronaldo seems to do a lot better than Messi when it comes to the stats like goals. But when you look at the impact and achievement, Messi seems to outshine Ronaldo by a mile.
That’s how cut-throat the competition has always been. And we hope we get to witness this legendary and magical rivalry for some more years.