GOAT Debate: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Comparison in 2022

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It is no gainsaying that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two greatest footballers the world currently has.

Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo v Messi

And both have remarkable careers that have largely coincided, with the pair dominating the world of football for well over two decades now.

However, there has always been an argument over who is better when their achievements and stats, both at the club and national level, are compared against each other.

Meanwhile, it appears as though the debate over who is better between Messi and Ronaldo which has been going on for over two decades now may have just ended at the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup.

Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo v Messi

Diving into their 2022 statistics in an attempt to find the answer to the aforementioned, both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have contributed a great quota for their clubs and countries this year.

Lionel Messi has featured in 51 games for both PSG and Argentina in 2022. And he has managed to score 35 goals and assisted 30 crucial goals.

Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi

Breaking it down further, Messi has played 37 games for PSG in all competitions this year and has scored 17 goals, including 24 fine assists.

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Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi hoisting the World Cup

At the International level, the seven-time Ballon d’Or holder has made 14 appearances this year, scoring 18 stunning goals with six assists including two crucial goals that helped Argentina win the Qatar World Cup.

Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo has in total, 16 goals and 4 assists in all 46 appearances at both club and international levels in 2022.

The five-time Ballon d’Or holder only featured in 35 matches across all competitions for United before his contract got terminated at Old Trafford following his unruly interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo at Manchester United

And during his horrendous playing time at Manchester United this season, Ronaldo has 13 goals to his goal collection including two assists.

For his country, the Portuguese skipper scored only three goals and made two assists in all 12 appearances for Portugal this year.

With the 2022 statistics gathered so far, the Argentine skipper Lionel Messi no doubt surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo and even achieved what the Portuguese couldn’t.

While both legendary players have won every major trophy for club and country, the only prize missing from their collections was the FIFA World Cup.

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Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to win the World Cup

However, Lionel Messi has now grabbed that while Ronaldo’s dreams came crashing down as Portugal was knocked out of the tournament by the courageous Morocco team in the quarter-finals.

While Ronaldo bowed out of the Qatar tournament as a colossal failure, Lionel Messi on the other hand created several records.

The Argentine skipper became the first footballer to win five Player of the Match awards at a single men’s World Cup and the first player with more than 10 across the FIFA World Cup tournament.

In addition, the 35-year-old PSG star also won the Golden Ball at the 2022 showpiece event, hence, becoming the first player to win it more than once after grabbing the award in 2014 when Argentina lost to Germany in the final.

And on the G.O.A.T debate, it is essential to note that even the World football ruling body, FIFA now apparently considers the debate to be over with Lionel Messi inspiring Argentina to its third World Cup triumph.

A tweet posted by FIFA, with a picture of Messi holding the Qatar World Cup in one hand and his fifth Player of the Match award in the tournament after the final against France signified Messi as the G.O.A.T.

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The tweet read: “The GOAT debate is settled. The ultimate prize is now part of the collection. The legacy is complete.”

However, the tweet was later deleted after it sparked tons of criticisms from fans, mostly Ronaldo’s supporters as many accused Fifa of being biased but a version of it was also shared by Budweiser, the official sponsor of the Player of the Match award.

Even though statistics do help get a much more vivid picture but fan’s opinion after many observations is also vital in this respect and this is where the Messi vs Ronaldo debate gets intense as many agree that Lionel Messi deserves to be called the greatest of all time.

And certainly, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is what appears to have made the discrepancy between the respective superiority of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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