The ‘who’s better’ debate will rumble on well after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have hung up their boots, and their record-breaking goal scoring in the Champions League has added further fuel to an already raging debate.
First off, only two players have ever made it into the Champions League 100 club, and there’s no surprise it’s these guys – the question is, who got there first?
Let’s start with Messi. He began his Champions League goal scoring back in 2005 against Panathinaikos, capitalising on some disastrous defending. Years of consistent goals followed including a rare header from the 5’7” Argentine against Manchester United in the 2009 final. He notched his first Champions League hat-trick against Arsenal at the Nou Camp in 2010, where he scored four in a 4-1 win.
The forward returned to haunt Manchester United again in the 2011 final at Wembley when he struck his 37th Champions League goal. Later in the calendar year Messi scored his second European hat-trick against minnows Viktoria Plzen. The following season saw Messi grab his third hat-trick against Leverkusen in 2012. Messi walked off with his fifth Champions League match ball in 2014 after tearing apart APOEL in a 0-4 win.
He continued his incredible goal scoring in 2016 when he notched his ninth goal in the competition against Arsenal, thus setting the record for most goals scored by a player against a single club. In the same year he got his sixth Champions League hat-trick against Celtic. Manchester City couldn’t stop the little magician scoring for fun as he bagged his seventh treble in a Champions League game.
He finally reached the 100-goal landmark in March 2018 with a brace against Chelsea. In total, it took the Barcelona talisman just 123 games to reach the feat.
How does that compare to Cristiano Ronaldo?
Ronaldo’s first European goal came for Manchester United against Debreceni in 2005. He scored ten more goals in the competition before planting a header against Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final, which saw Manchester United win the competition on penalties.
The Portugal captain finally netted himself a Champions League hat-trick in 2012 as his Real Madrid side saw of Ajax 4-1 in 2012. A year later he scored his 50th European goal against Turkish side Galatasaray, and then netted his second CL hat-trick against them later on in the year.
Real Madrid won the competition in 2014 with help from Ronaldo’s spot kick against rivals Atletico Madrid and in 2015 he scored his third European hat-trick with a reactive header against Shakhtar. In the same season Malmo fell victim of his non-stop goal scoring as he netted yet another Champions League treble, the fourth of his career. He also set the record for the most goals scored in a Champions League group stage with 11 goals. A stunning free-kick capped his sixth Champions League hat trick against Wolfsburg in 2016.
He finally reached the 100 club in 2017 against Bayern Munich.
So, having made it to 100 European club goals on 18 October 2017 against Olympiacos, Messi (who also has three UEFA Super Cup strikes) became the second man to achieve a century in the senior UEFA competition after Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid forward was also the first to get 100 for a single club with his opening strike versus Paris Saint-Germain on 14 February 2018.
However, Ronaldo needed 144 games to register his 100 UEFA Champions League goals, Messi just 123.
So Ronaldo was first, but Messi was quicker. Who’s better? The debate goes on.
Octo Finissimo Automatic A Third World Record for Bulgari
Bulgari is once again the spotlight, proudly presenting its third successive world record.
The Octo Finissimo Automatic is the slimmest ultra-thin self-winding watch on the market to date.
After introducing its Tourbillon in 2014 and the Minute Repeater in 2016, the Maison unveils its new creation featuring a total thickness of just 5.15mm, while its self-winding movement is just 2.23mm thick for a 40mm diameter.
The iconic Octo is once again pushing the boundaries of watchmaking feasibility.
The highly-rated Sheffield United forward was named the best player when England won the Under-20 Toulon Tournament last summer.
But Warrington-born Brooks – whose mother Cathryn is from Llangollen – switched to Wales a few months later and was capped against France and Panama in November, producing a man-of-the-match performance in the latter.
Brooks could still represent England as those games were friendlies, but the 20-year-old sees himself firmly part of the Wales camp as he prepares to win his third cap against Mexico in California on Tuesday morning.
“I’m committed to Wales and don’t have any interest in going back to England,” Brooks said.
“I wouldn’t be travelling across the world if I didn’t want to be here. I’ve just got to work hard here to get in the manager’s plans in the future.”
🇲🇽🏴 #MEXWAL - PAST MEETINGS— FA Wales (@FAWales) 24 May 2018
When @Cymru play #Mexico at the Rose Bowl Stadium in #LA, it will be just the 4th meeting between the nations.
Read more here 👉 https://t.co/OjcNMSUyhq#TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/EpmrcviDWm
Brooks was actually named in the Wales Toulon squad last May before his name was withdrawn and he appeared in the England party.
But he explained that was due to a breakdown in communication and that his heart was always set on playing for Wales.
“I had expressed my interest to Wales, but it hadn’t come around at the time when England offered for me to go the Toulon Tournament,” Brooks said.
“I had no knowledge of being in the Wales squad, and when the squad came out I’d already made plans to go away with England.
“It was a misunderstanding on the social media front, and I had to fulfil the agreement I had with England. Thankfully, after that Wales got in touch and it hadn’t put them off that I’d played for England.
“I spoke to Rob Page (Wales U-21 manager) and he said ‘Just go away and have a good tournament with England’ and come down to a camp with us after.
“I took to it and it was a special moment making my debut in France. When I found out I was in the squad for that game I rang my mam straight after training. She’d already seen the news and she was crying on the phone.”
Brooks’ sparkling early-season form at Sheffield United saw him linked to several Premier League clubs, among them Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham.
But he was struck down by glandular fever in December and did not play in the Championship for three months.
“It did hit me quite hard,” Brooks said. “I was in hospital for a short period and it was difficult because you never knew what would happen.
“With an injury you know roughly when you’re going to be back, but they just said ‘Listen, it’s whenever you feel comfortable’.
“I still get tired and you don’t really know if it’s glandular fever or you’re just tired. I’m OK in terms of being able to do everything fully, but it’s only just getting to that point now.”
Hey everyone, it’s Denzil Pinto here giving you a bitesize look at what’s going on in the world of sport.
The clock is ticking and the anticipation is building for the Champions League final this evening.
Meanwhile, Kop midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum believes the club and its supporters have been waiting for a moment like this since their famous 2005 triumph in Istanbul. Read what the Dutch midfielder said here.
Elsewhere, our man Alex Broun looks back at the first and only previous European Cup final between these two sides in 1981.
There is bad news for Pakistan as Babar Azam was ruled out of the two-match Test series due to a fractured wrist.
The in-form batsman was crucial for his team on the second day at Lord’s, hitting 68 before being forced to retire hurt after being hit on the wrist. Read the full story, here.
Meanwhile, Pakistan will resume day three at the Home of Cricket with a 166-run lead after closing play on Friday on 350-8.
In the IPL, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Rashid Khan stole the show as his superb all-round display set up a final with Chennai Super Kings on Sunday. The Afghan was in sensational form in the Eliminator win against Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday and earned the praise of Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar.
With the French Open to begin on Sunday, we look at the players to watch during the second major of the year at Roland Garros. Reem Abulleil brings you more.
FEATURE OF THE DAY
SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Champions League final: Liverpool v Real Madrid, 22:45
First Test: England v Pakistan, 14:00
Formula One: Monaco Qualifying 17:00