Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo rivalry is not a new thing in the football world. They are big nemesis of each other since the last decade. If someday, someone writes a book on the biggest rivalries in the sports world, Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo will surely come on top.
In 2009, when Ronaldo arrived in La Liga and joined Real Madrid, the rivalry between Messi and him grew more intense, with both ripping apart oppositions to lead their team to some glorious wins.
The rivalry between the two has been always given a special treatment as both of them are treated as the GOATs of the game.
Both Messi and Ronaldo have done exceptionally well for their clubs. Messi has only represented Spanish Giants Barcelona in his career, while, Ronaldo, who plays for Italy's Juventus has been associated with Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United and Real Madrid in past.
When it comes to the international football, some doubts start to cloud over Messi's Argentina legacy as he is yet to win an international trophy with his country, meanwhile, Ronaldo has won UEFA Euro Cup 2016 with Portugal. Though Ronaldo was injured in the final of the tournament, he still pumped his team up from the sidelines. Messi guided his team to 2014 FIFA World Cup final but couldn't lift the trophy as Germany's Mario Gotze scored the winner in extra time to break the Argentine's dream. He also led his team to consecutive Copa America finals in 2015 and 2017 but Chile came on top both times.
Ronaldo has scored 99 goals in his international career and is the second-highest goalscorer in the world, while Messi has netted 69 goals and is 18th on the tally. The difference between both the players is huge because Ronaldo(164) has played more games than Messi (137), still the Portuguese hold an edge over the Argentinian forward in the international circuit.
Interestingly, a stat proves that Messi might be a better player than Ronaldo in international football.
Most of the goals Ronaldo scored are against the weak teams. Out of the 99 goals, Ronaldo has scored only 28 goals against the countries that come inside the top- 50 in FIFA Rankings. However, Messi, who is the main man of Argentina, has scored 56 times against the same big teams. There is a huge difference between the percentage of goals scored by both of them against big teams as Messi stands tall with 82 per cent while the Portuguese captain has 28 per cent goals against them. But the lack of international trophy makes a big difference in Messi's case despite being the better player, he still gets criticism for his Argentina stint.