Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi faced off for what may be the last time when a side selected from Saudi Arabia’s top clubs took on PSG in a friendly last week.
The pair have been at the top of world football for a remarkable 14 years, winning most of the individual accolades available during this period.
Because of their achievements, football history would be incomplete without the mention of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo completed a switch to Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League after enjoying a successful career in Europe. The forward set a raft of records in his time playing in Europe, many of which still stand.
By choosing to leave Europe, some of Ronaldo’s records may be beaten by his rival, Messi. This article will highlight five such records that Messi can break.
Without further ado, here are five Cristiano Ronaldo records that can be broken by Lionel Messi.
#5 Most international goals
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have enjoyed storied international careers so far, with each making their mark for their country. Ronaldo holds the record for most goals scored in international football, having found the net 118 times for Portugal.
Messi is South America’s most remarkable goalscorer in international football, with his tally of 98 goals for Argentina the best from the continent. The forward is enjoying the best period of his international career with his teammates, having scored seven goals at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The 35-year-old scored 18 goals in 14 matches in 2022 and remains a key member of the national team. Ronaldo has seen his influence on the pitch wane in recent months for club and country.
At 37, it is possible that new Portugal manager Roberto Martinez will emulate his predecessor Fernando Santos by relying less on Ronaldo. This makes it very possible for Messi to surpass Ronaldo’s international goals record.
#4 UEFA Champions League assists
For all the talk of his lack of creativity, Cristiano Ronaldo remains the player with the most assists in UEFA Champions League history.
The forward stacked up his assists in his time at Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus. He made a total of 42 assists in his time in Europe’s premier club competition.
Lionel Messi is seen as one of the most complete attacking players in the history of football. His passing range and repertoire of skills make him deadly in nearly every situation on the pitch.
The PSG ace has assisted 40 goals in his Champions League career, with four of those assists coming in this season’s competition.
At his unveiling press conference, Ronaldo revealed that he was done with European football. This implies that he has no plans of returning to Europe, and this opens up the possibility of Messi beating his record.
Playing alongside the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, it is almost certain that the PSG star will break Ronaldo’s assists record in the Champions League.
#3 UEFA Champions League goals
In terms of goalscoring numbers and consistency, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi occupy a galaxy of their own.
This is no different in the UEFA Champions League, with the pair being the only players to have scored more than 100 goals in the competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo is often referred to as “Mr. Champions League” for the number of records he holds in the history of the competition.
The forward scored the most goals in the competition’s history, with 141 goals staggered across spells for Manchester United, Juventus, and Real Madrid.
Messi has a chance to top the record held by Ronaldo before his retirement. The Argentine star has scored 129 goals in the competition since making his debut in 2004.
Still only 35, the PSG star will hope to be decisive when his side makes a deep run in the competition.
#2 Most goals in European club football
Just as they have managed in other goal-scoring categories throughout their careers, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have scored more goals than anyone else in European club football. Ronaldo, however, holds the outright record for the most goals scored.
Ronaldo scored a staggering 701 club goals in his time in Europe, playing for four teams. He scored five goals for Sporting Lisbon, 145 for Manchester United, 450 for Real Madrid, and 101 for Juventus.
The 37-year-old is the only player in history to score 700 goals in European club football. Messi can easily break this record held by Ronaldo, as he has scored 696 goals.
The PSG star has scored 24 goals for the French side in addition to the 672 he scored while at Barcelona. He only needs five goals to equal Ronaldo’s tally.
#1 Most goals in Europe’s top five leagues
Cristiano Ronaldo scored goals at an alarming rate at the peak of his career. This goalscoring ability was evident from the numbers he put up in just league football.
The Portuguese star narrowly missed out on 500 league goals in Europe’s top five leagues.
Ronaldo played in three of Europe’s top five leagues for Juventus, Real Madrid, and Manchester United. He scored a total of 495 goals in those spells, with 311 coming in LaLiga. He also scored 103 goals in the Premier League and 81 in Serie A.
Lionel Messi stands a good chance of breaking this record held by his rival. The Argentine forward has scored 488 goals in Europe’s top leagues. He scored 475 goals in LaLiga and has scored 14 in Ligue 1.
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