Lionel Messi has the opportunity to definitively prove himself as the greatest player in Champions League history following Ronaldo’s move to Saudi Arabia.
Ronaldo moved to Al-Nassr for £173 million a year, leaving Europe for the first time in his career.
That would bring him one step closer to Ronaldo’s record for most Champions League victories.
For the previous 16 years, the two have faced off in the battle, and Ronaldo has prevailed in a number of categories.
However, since CR7 is not going to participate in another Champions League match, Messi has the opportunity to take certain records away from his foe.
Here are the records Ronaldo is in possession of and what Messi needs to achieve to make the Portuguese history-less.
Most appearances in the Champions League: 183
With 161 appearances in the Champions League, Messi is well behind Ronaldo.
However, if PSG wins the championship, he might finish the current season with seven more games played.
Most goals in the Champions League: 140
Due to the gap in appearances, Messi has also scored less goals than his rival, which is not surprising.
However, the Argentine will be certain that he can break this record because he now has 129 goals and has four in five games this season.
Most goals scored in a Champions League season: 17. (2013-14)
Messi faces a greater challenge in breaking this record because he has never scored more than 14 goals in a single Champions League season, accomplishing that feat in 2011–12.
The forward was also at the height of his abilities at the time, so it’s possible that he won’t unseat Ronaldo in this area.
Most goals scored in the Champions League semifinals: 67
It will take a lot for Messi to surpass Ronaldo in terms of knockout stage goals because the two are in a different category altogether.
It would take a tremendous effort for the 35-year-old to pass Ronaldo given that he has 49 overall.
Top scorer in the UEFA Champions League: 7 times
Messi, who has won the golden boot six times but last accomplished the feat in 2018–19, is only one behind.
With Kylian Mbappe of PSG and Mo Salah of Liverpool leading the pace with seven goals each, he has some catching up to do with his four goals this season.
Most UEFA Champions League victories: 5
Messi has four medals of victory to show for Barcelona’s prolonged dominance of the Champions League.
Although PSG has yet to win the competition, it would still be a significant accomplishment for Messi to surpass Ronaldo by adding two more championships to his resume.
Only player to have scored in three UEFA Champions League finals.
In this category, Messi is only one behind the former Real Madrid player after scoring twice against Manchester United in 2009 and 2011.
Only one of two players in a UEFA Champions League group to score in all six games.
The only player who can challenge Ronaldo in this division is Sebastien Haller.
Messi has work to do after scoring four goals in three different group games this season but failed to score in either match against Juventus.
Only individual to score in 11 consecutive UEFA Champions League matches
Ronaldo’s incredible record is set to stand for many more years.
The most Messi has ever accomplished is five straight Champions League victories, which he did in 2014 to 2016.
Men’s Player, Best Player, and Most UEFA Club Footballer Awards: 4
If Messi wins the Champions League player of the season award this year, he could surpass Ronaldo’s record.
Given that Messi has four assists in addition to his four goals, he can achieve it.
Most appearances in the Team of the Year as selected by UEFA.com users: 15
Despite missing out on the team of the year the previous year, Messi has made the cut 12 times.
If he maintains the excellent form he had throughout the group rounds, that number should increase to 13.
Will Lionel Messi Surpass Ronaldo’s Champions League Record?
For the time being, Messi, 35, seems to be promised consistent Champions League play.
PSG reportedly offered him a one-year extension to his contract, which runs through the end of the season, as they are now top of Group H and inching closer to knockout-stage qualification.
He will almost certainly play in the Champions League if he stays with the Ligue 1 champions, who are currently in first place in France’s premier division.
However, Messi is expected to surpass Ronaldo’s record in the coming few years given that Ronaldo was unable to earn a return to the Champions League.
Lionel Messi would need to score an average of eight goals per season between 2022/23 and 2023/24 to accomplish the milestone next season.
He would need a personal-best single-campaign total to accomplish it this term.