- Al Jazeera looks back on the careers of two of the most recognizable footballers of their generation.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will play their fifth, and probably last, World Cup in Qatar.
Argentine and Paris Saint-Germain player Messi, 35, announced in October that the 2022 World Cup will be his last, while Portugal and Manchester United’s Ronaldo, 37, has yet to comment on his international future.
For more than a decade, the world of football has debated who is better. The discussion is likely to continue long after they hang up their boots.
The former Real Madrid star’s international career began in 2003, while Messi, who left Barcelona last year for Paris, played his first international match two years later against Hungary.
When it comes to his scoring record, Ronaldo is far ahead of his Argentine rival.
The Manchester United star has scored 117 times, a record. Messi has 90 goals to his name.
Both players have significant regional competition at the international level, with Ronaldo winning the European Championship in 2016 and Messi securing the Copa America in 2021.
History of the World Cup
In football’s most prestigious event, Messi has played 19 matches, two more than his Portuguese competitor.
Ronaldo returns to lead in the scoring department with seven goals, one more than Messi.
However, between the two, only Messi reached a World Cup final, at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The giants of South American football lost to Germany in extra time 1-0.
There was some consolation for Messi when he took home the Ballon d’Or for the best performance at the World Cup in Brazil. In contrast, Ronaldo reached the semi-final stage once, in 2006.
Ronaldo has scored 701 goals in all club competitions, while Messi has 695, making them the top scorers at the club level in football history.
But the Portuguese has played 100 more games than Messi, giving Messi a better average of play per goal.
However, when it comes to assists, the 35-year-old Argentine far surpasses Ronaldo, with almost 50 percent more than the Manchester United player.
Source: AL JAZEERA
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