Penalties are a highly commented aspect when comparing Messi with Cristiano Ronaldo. We could highlight a few premises that always appear in debates:
- Premise 1: PENALDO. Cristiano Ronaldo greatly inflates his goalscoring numbers from the penalty spot.
- Premise 2: Messi is terrible shooting penalties.
In this section we will try to shed light on the debate, providing all the figures.
Global accuracy percentages
Taking these percentages to absolute, more understandable figures, we can affirm that: Lionel Messi misses penalties out of shots while Cristiano Ronaldo misses penaltis out of shots.
Now, let’s see how many penalties Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have shot per season:
Penalty shots per season
The record figures of the season 2011/2012 are striking. Messi shot 19 penalties (17 with Barça and 2 with Argentina, all during the 90 minutes) and Cristiano Ronaldo 18 (16 with Madrid and 2 with Portugal, one in penalty shootout, failed against Bayern München).
Penalty goals by calendar year
Next, we will see what was the accuracy in penalties, per season:
Accuracy per season
We can see that Leo Messi had two really bad seasons (2015/2016 and 2017/2018) where he missed half of the penalties he shot.
We have already seen how many penalties they have shot per season and how accurate they have been. Let’s see now what percentage of his total goals has been a penalty.
Percentage of penalties in relation to total goals scored
Based on the calculated percentages, taking them again to absolute figures, easier to understand, we can affirm that, throughout their careers, out of goals scored by Lionel Messi, are penalties while out of goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, are penalties.
We also see that if neither of them had ever taken a penalty, Messi would have scored goals more than Cristiano Ronaldo, despite having played games less than the Portuguese.
Penalty goals per season
Finally, we will see how important the penalties that each one has missed have been. Again we must emphasize that we rely on mathematics to determine if they were relevant or not. That is, only those penalties that would have modified the sign of the match or the penalty shoot-out are considered relevant.