Lionel Messi has been the butt of a lot of jokes at Paris Saint-Germain this season.
It’s certainly not been all sunshine and rainbows for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner since kissing goodbye to Barcelona with his terrible goalscoring record in Ligue 1 having been widely slammed.
To be fair, it certainly is eyebrow-raising that one of the greatest goalscorers in history has made it all the way until January with just a single league goal despite having made 12 appearances.
Messi vs Ronaldo in 2021/22
It’s a situation made all the more awkward by the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo has largely impressed on the back of his own summer move to Manchester United with eight goals in the Premier League.
Both players have performed well in the Champions League with Messi trailing Ronaldo by just a single goal, but it’s those starkly-contrasting league scoring statistics that really do stand out.
As such, here at GIVEMESPORT, we wanted to do some more digging to find out if Messi really has been as poor in the league compared to Ronaldo as the goalscoring data would suggest he has.
Comparing Messi and Ronaldo’s league stats
To achieve that, we’ve turned to the Squawka comparison matrix and chosen 33 metrics that we believe best represent the jobs required of Messi and Ronaldo in their respective positions.
We’ve then applied the ‘per 90’ filter to ensure that Messi won’t be unfairly handicapped due to his fewer appearances and then tallied up who won the most statistical measures for a full comparison.
Pretty straightforward, right? Well, first and foremost, be sure to check out the stats that were used, who came out on top for each one of them and then keep scrolling the see the overall victor below.
- Opta Performance Index – Lionel Messi
- Games played – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Ball recoveries – Lionel Messi
- Possession lost (fewest wins) – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Offsides (fewest wins) – Lionel Messi
- Goals – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Non-penalty goals – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Penalty goals – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Goals from inside the box – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Goals from outside the box – Lionel Messi
- Headed goals – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
- Direct free-kick goals – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
- Right-footed goals – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Left-footed goals – Lionel Messi
- Conversion rate % – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Shots – Lionel Messi
- Shot accuracy % – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Shots on target – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Assists – Lionel Messi
- Chances created – Lionel Messi
- Passes completed – Lionel Messi
- Pass accuracy % – Lionel Messi
- Successful long passes – Lionel Messi
- Crossing accuracy % – Lionel Messi
- Successful lay-offs – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Tackles made – Lionel Messi
- Take-ons completed – Lionel Messi
- Take-on success % – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Fouls won – Lionel Messi
- Penalties won – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Aerial duels won – Cristiano Ronaldo
- Ground duels won – Lionel Messi
- Interceptions – Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi 18-15 Cristiano Ronaldo
Put respect on Messi’s name
Right, ok, so does this necessarily mean that Messi has enjoyed a better league season than Ronaldo despite having only scored one goal? Not at all.
However, it does go to show that Messi deserves respect for his performances in Ligue 1 because the fact that he’s only found the net once doesn’t mean that his time in France has been a write off.
Even through all the trials and tribulations that PSG have gone through this season, Messi is still getting the better of one of the world’s best players across 18 key metrics for attacking players.
Yes, Ronaldo might take the victory in almost every goalscoring and shooting data-set, but Messi’s superior assists, fouls won, ground duels won, passing accuracy and even tackling stats shouldn’t be ignored.
Messi’s league form has been a million miles away from what we expect from arguably the greatest player of all time, but put respect on his name because the stats show he’s playing far better than you think.