The El Clasico is just around the corner and as it’s been for the better part of a decade, the build up to the clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona features its obligatory narrative.
We’re talking about the Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi story line, of course.
The duo can’t help but be among the main protagonists of La Liga‘s and possibly club football’s most theatrical rivalry.
Here’s how their records in the derby compare.
When it comes to their form in front of goal, it’s difficult to choose between the two superstars with both scoring almost at will for so much of their careers.
Messi is well ahead in El Clasico goals though, with 24 to his name compared to Ronaldo’s 17. However, it’s worth noting that the current Ballon d’Or winner has played in only 28 editions of the derby while his Argentinian counterpart has featured in 36.
The Portuguese holds the record for scoring in the most consecutive El Clasicos with a run of six games.
In the many heated encounters between the two Spanish juggernauts, Messi has been on the winning side more often than not. The Barcelona man has won 16 times, drawn eight matches and lost 12.
Meanwhile Ronaldo, who arrived in Spain during Barcelona’s golden era under Pep Guardiola, has had to endure more defeats. He’s been on the losing side 13 times, drawing six matches and winning eight.
One of Ronaldo’s biggest critiques is his selfishness in front of goal. He’s desperate to get on the score sheet and sometimes, setting up a team mate in a better position doesn’t occur to him.
In El Clasicos though, it must be said that Real Madrid over the last 10 years have seen very little of the ball during their clashes with the Catalans and the plan quickly became to get Ronaldo on the end of the chances they were able to muster on the break. That definitely factors into things when you look at the Portuguese’s one assist in 28 games.
Messi on the other hand is renowned for his exceptional playmaking and so it’s no surprise that he has bagged 13 assists in El Clasicos, an all-time record.
Lionel Messi (2ndR)
The debate over who is better between the two five-time Ballon d’Or winners will rumble on as it has for so long. However, when it comes to their performances in El Clasicos, Messi is the undisputed winner.
In Ronaldo’s defence, Madrid have been second best as a team to their La Liga rivals for much of the time he has spent at the club while Messi has flourished in the more dominant side over the last decade or so.
Messi 3-1 Ronaldo