Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated world football for almost a decade and a half. The timeless rivalry between the duo has been an absolute treat for football fans all around the globe. Ronaldo is now 36, Messi is 33 and their record-laden careers might draw to a close in the coming years.
But the two players have made their careers by defying expectations. Despite having gone past their peaks, they continue to break records and maintain their place among the very best in the business.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have made a habit out of breaking records
Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi are two of the greatest footballers of all time and the sheer number of records the duo have broken is a testament to their almost superhuman abilities.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at five Lionel Messi records that Cristiano Ronaldo might not break.
#5 Most European Golden Shoe Awards – 6
The European Golden Shoe is awarded to the player who scores the most number of goals in a single season in all leagues across the continent. When Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were at the peak of their powers and scoring goals for fun, they would trade blows in the race for the Golden Shoe.
Cristiano Ronaldo first won the award with Manchester United in the 2007-08 season. He has won it three times since then, in 2010-11, 2013-14 and 2014-15. At the time, Ronaldo had the lead over Lionel Messi. The Argentine had only three when the Portuguese won his last Golden Shoe Award.
Robert Lewandowski scored 41 goals in the 2020-21 season and won the award this time. Ronaldo finished third in this season’s race to the Golden Shoe. Messi came second. Now that he is 36, it is nearly impossible for Ronaldo to go on and win three more European Golden Shoes and break Messi’s record of winning six European Golden Shoes.
#4 Most consecutive Ballon d’Or wins – 4
It’s a record which is extremely unlikely to be broken by Ronaldo. He’ll have to start from scratch as his last Ballon d’Or win came in 2017. At his age, winning four consecutive Ballons d’Or is impossible.
#3 Most number of goals for a single club – 672*
Football has changed a lot and the idea of a ‘one-club player’ is nearly non-existent right now. Lionel Messi has played his entire career at Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo has played for Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.
Both players have had stellar careers but this is a unique record that Lionel Messi is going to keep for a while. Messi has scored a whopping 672 goals for Barcelona in his club career. He broke Pele’s record of 643 goals, which he scored for Santos, in December.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 450 goals in 438 games for Real Madrid. He is 10th on the list of players with most number of goals for a single club. Ronaldo is the only active player in the top 10. But he is not playing for Real Madrid anymore. Therefore, it is simply impossible for Ronaldo to break this record of Lionel Messi’s.
#2 Most number of goals in a calendar year – 91
There was a point in time when Lionel Messi made football look too easy. He used to slalom past defenders and beat the goalkeeper like clockwork. The Argentine was at the peak of his powers in 2012. It is heralded as the greatest year of Messi’s career.
Messi, who won his fourth Ballon d’Or in 2012, scored an incredible 91 goals in that calendar year. He broke Gerd Muller’s record of 85 goals in a single calendar year. It’s a record that looks set to stand for years to come.
Ronaldo last scored more than 50 goals in a calendar year in 2017 and his numbers have declined since. Given that he is approaching his final year, it seems unlikely that he will have as good a year as peak Messi had way back in 2012.
#1 Most number of Ballon d’Or wins – 6
Lionel Messi took the lead in the Ballon d’Or race when he won it for the sixth time in 2019. Cristiano Ronaldo has won the award five times. In 2020, the award was canceled but neither of the two were favourites to win it at the time. Robert Lewandowski was the frontrunner for the award last time.
Ronaldo is past his prime and it is unlikely that he will win two more Ballons’ d’Or. Juventus are also set to undergo a rebuild of sorts. It will take an extraordinary effort from them them to win some major trophies in the upcoming seasons to propel Ronaldo towards Ballon d’Or glory again.
Even then, he will need to outdo the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe to name a few.