Who is the GOAT of football in the 21st century?

Many talented football players have made significant contributions to the sport, and it is difficult to compare players from different eras. But for this modern era, the debate is between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Both Ronaldo and Messi have won the Ballon d’Or, but Lionel Messi affirmed his GOAT status after clinching the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Argentinian player has beaten his close rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who has never won a World Cup. So we can say the GOAT debate is settled for this era.

The Greatest footballer of All Time topic is an emotional one. As a matter of fact, most people argue this topic with their emotions. But that’s not how it should be; let’s settle this with a head-to-head between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Who Is The Greatest Football Of All Time? | Ronaldo Vs. Messi


Lionel Messi

Christiano Ronaldo

The Best FIFA Men’s Player 1 2
World Cup 1 0
UEFA Champions League 4 5
Copa America / Euro 1 1
Ballon d’Or 7 5
Career Goals 790  819
European Golden Shoe 6 4
FIFA World Cup Golden Ball 2 0

The GOAT: Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi was with Barcelona almost the whole of his career and scored 672 goals there, the most goals anyone has scored in one club. The 35-year-old Argentina star was groomed in the La Masia academy alongside Xavi, Iniesta, and Mauro Icardi. While at Barca, Messi won seven Ballon d’Or awards, six European Golden Shoe, and 35 league trophies, including four UEFA Champions League titles.

Lionel Messi was destined for greatness, which can be seen clearly in how he started. The talented striker debuted in the FC Barcelona A team when he was only 16 during a friendly match with Porto back in 2003. His performance that day shot him into the limelight.

Soon after, he was training with the Barcelona A team and became friends with football legend Ronaldinho. It’s on record that his relationship with Ronaldinho assisted him significantly in Barcelona.

Fast forward to 2005, during the Joan Gamper Trophy, Messi performed excellently against Juventus. That same year, he signed his first contract with Barcelona as a senior team player. After scoring 25 goals in 8 games, it was quite clear Messi would be a goalscoring machine. He did it again during the 2006–07 campaign, but this time with 17 goals in 36 games.

His mentor, Ronaldinho, was losing form; by 2007, he could no longer perform like he used to. But that was what Messi needed to shine in Barcelona. The 20-year-old became Barça’s Messiah and was nominated for the 2007 Ballon d’Or alongside Kaká and Cristiano Ronaldo.

2008 did not start off so well for him; he was plagued with injuries, but Messi played so well that he was nominated again for the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award. In 2009, Messi grabbed the FIFA World Player, Pichichi Trophy, and the European Golden shoe the same year, and set a world record. He also won his first Ballon d’Or with the largest voting margin in football history.

He wasn’t the only one succeeding; his club won six trophies in a single year, including the Supercopa de España and UEFA Super Cup, making them the first to do so. After the first, getting six more Ballon D’Ors was as easy as doing what he knew how to do best, being the best player and scoring record-breaking goals.

From 2015, the world cup winner was bagging golden boots and breaking records, including Pelé’s record of the highest number of goals scored in one club. Messi left FC Barcelona in 2021 after the club failed to renew his contract; he was bought by Paris Saint-Germain, where he won Ligue 1 in his first season. Moving to Paris Saint Germain was like a fresh start since he’d been in Barcelona his whole life. The Neymar’s PSG team mate won his first senior national trophy with Argentina that year.

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The Rival: Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

There’s no disputing that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players alive. He is one of the few to appear in over 1,100 professional games and the only player to have scored in all five FIFA World Cups. The Portuguese began his senior career with Sporting Clube de Portugal and moved to Manchester United in 2003. There, he won his first FA Cup and announced his entry.

He was given the No. 7 shirt previously worn by the likes of David Beckham and that was a lucky number because he soon became famous for it and earned the nickname CR7. Christiano Ronaldo won his first Ballon d’Or and was voted Manchester United’s player of the year in 2008.

Well over a decade after he joined international football, Cristiano Ronaldo won his fourth Ballon d’Or after leading Portugal to the European Championship 2016 and scoring the second-highest number of goals at the tournament. That same year, Forbes named him the highest-paid athlete.

Ronaldo is constantly striving to improve himself. He is a work in progress who strives for perfection. He is a self-made man who came from a rough family background, which left traces of insecurity in his constitution. In 2017, he won The Best FIFA Men’s Player award and the fifth Ballon d’Or while playing for Real Madrid.

He is the all-time leading goalscorer in the Champions League and has the most appearances in the history of the league. He clinched his last Champions League title with Madrid during the 2017 season when his club defeated Liverpool 3–1. Ronaldo scored 15 goals throughout the tournament, consecutively making him the top scorer for the sixth time.

Who Is Better, Messi Or Ronaldo?

Some folks think Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Messi because Ronaldo played and succeeded in several leagues.

EPL: While at Manchester United

  • He won the Champions League five times.
  • Won four golden boots.
  • Won three premier league titles.
  • Won one FIFA Club World Cup.
  • Scored 118 goals.

La Liga: At Real Madrid

  • Ronaldo scored 450 goals for Real Madrid.
  • Won two La Liga titles.
  • Won four Champions Leagues.
  • Won two Copa del Rey.

Serie A: At Juventus

  • He won two Serie A titles.
  • Two Supercoppa Italiana.
  • One Coppa Italia.

Cristiano Ronaldo is known for his speed, skill, and scoring ability on the field, and he has won numerous awards. What fans love about him are numerous; they even call him the GOAT of modern football. Here’s what makes him the GOAT in football.

Physical ability: Ronaldo is an incredibly athletic and physically gifted player with excellent speed, quickness, and agility.

Technically skilled: Ronaldo is also a highly technical player, with excellent ball control, dribbling ability, and shooting technique.

Goalscoring prowess: CR7 is an amazing goal scorer and has scored over 800 goals in his career. He is known for his ability to take shots from complicated positions and distances.

Mental toughness: Ronaldo is also known for his mental toughness and competitiveness and has a reputation for being a clutch performer who rises to the occasion in big games.

Leadership: Ronaldo is also a leader on and off the field and is known for his ability to motivate and inspire his teammates.

Lionel Messi is known for his incredible skill and technique on the ball and his pace, intelligence, and ability to score goals. He has won seven Ballon d’Or, four champions league titles, 10 La Liga titles and seven Copa del Rey titles. At PSG, he has won one Ligue 1.

With all due respect, Messi is also a fantastic player, but he has been unable to reproduce his success with Barcelona in PSG. It’s almost like it’s only in Barcelona he can perform at his best. Some of the specific things that make Messi special include:

His dribbling ability: Messi is known for easily dribbling past defenders, often using quick footwork and close control to navigate tight spaces.

His vision and passing: Messi has a great sense of where his teammates are on the pitch and is able to pick out passes that others might not see. He is also a very accurate passer, able to consistently find his teammates with well-placed balls.

His goalscoring: Messi is one of the most fantastic goalscorers of his time, with over 700 goals in his career so far. He is capable of scoring all kinds of goals, from long-range strikes to tap-ins, and is particularly deadly in one-on-one situations.

Overall, Messi’s combination of skill, speed, intelligence, and goal scoring ability make him a truly special player and the GOAT in football.

Guys like , Zinedine Zidane, Diego maradona, Ronaldinho and Andres Iniesta are all exceptional players but they’re hardly compared with Messi. Andres Iniesta has won numerous championships and trophies throughout his career but was never awarded the Ballon d’Or award. The little Argentine player even overtook messi’s compatriot diego maradona as the greatest and is not slowing down.


Messi is the greatest footballer of all time because he is not only a top goal scorer but also a skilled playmaker who can impact his team’s overall performance. This quality distinguishes him from other players like Ronaldo, who are only measured by statistics and achievements. The debate is settled; Messi is the GOAT in football, the best in the modern era.

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