When it comes to the never-ending Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debate, 2022 has been fairly one-sided.
It’s been all about Messi, who won the FIFA World Cup for the very first time on December 18th.
Messi scooped the coveted Golden Ball award after scoring seven goals and bagging three assists out in Qatar.
The Argentine genius has also been pretty darn good for Paris Saint-Germain in 2022.
In 2022/23 alone, Messi has 26 goal contributions in 19 appearances across all competitions, a spectacular return.
On the flip side, Ronaldo’s 2022 pales in comparison.
Goals have been hard to come by both domestically and internationally for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. He’s also currently without a club after his acrimonious Manchester United exit.
Read more – Messi, Ronaldo, Maradona: Top 25 players of all time named
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 06: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United reacts during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Villa Park on November 06, 2022 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by James Gill/Getty Images)
But while things haven’t been good for the Ronaldo side of the debate in recent times, we must never forget the almost unrepeatable impact he’s had on the game.
That’s been further highlighted in a recent post by the folks over at the International Federation of Football History & Statistics.
They’ve officially named the 27 players with 100 or more international goals for club and country combined.
Needless to say, Ronaldo – the leading scorer in men’s international football with Portugal – is clear of Messi at the top by a considerable distance.
The 27 players with 100 or more international goals for club and country
27. Eusebio (Portugal) – 100 goals
26. Bader Al-Mutawa (Kuwait) – 100 goals
25. Mohamed Salah (Egypt) – 101 goals
24. Miroslav Klose (Germany) – 102 goals
23. Pele (Brazil) – 103 goals
22. Sergio Aguero (Argentina) – 104 goals
21. Sunil Chhetri (India) – 104 goals
20. Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon) – 105 goals
19. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) – 108 goals
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – JUNE 12: Romelu Lukaku of Belgium celebrates after scoring their side’s third goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group B match between Belgium and Russia on June 12, 2021 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Evgenia Novozhenina – Pool/Getty Images)
18. Romario (Brazil) – 109 goals
17. Thierry Henry (France) – 110 goals
16. Ronaldo Nazario (Brazil) – 112 goals
15. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) – 113 goals
14. Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine) – 115 goals
13. Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) – 115 goals
12. Edin Dzeko (Bosnia & Herzegovina) – 117 goals
11. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) – 119 goals
10. Luis Suarez (Uruguay) – 121 goals
AL WAKRAH, QATAR – DECEMBER 02: Luis Suarez of Uruguay reacts during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group H match between Ghana and Uruguay at Al Janoub Stadium on December 02, 2022 in Al Wakrah, Qatar. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
9. Ferenc Puskas (Hungary, Spain) – 122 goals
8. Ali Daei (Iran) – 122 goals
7. Raul Gonzalez (Spain) – 123 goals
6. Karim Benzema (France) – 128 goals
5. Neymar (Brazil) – 136 goals
4. Gerd Muller (Germany) – 137 goals
3. Robert Lewandowski (Poland) – 178 goals
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina) – 235 goals
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 270 goals
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – JUNE 23: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal celebrates after scoring their side’s first goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group F match between Portugal and France at Puskas Arena on June 23, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Tibor Illyes – Pool/Getty Images)
Even after Messi’s spectacular World Cup, it’s not even close at the summit.
As well as being the leading scorer in men’s international football, Ronaldo leads the way in terms of Champions League goals.
It’s hard to see the gap being completely bridged before Messi hangs up his boots. However, when it comes to the little man, you can’t rule anything out.
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