As most football fans from around the world would acknowledge these two players are the two best in the world and will fight it out for the FIFA Ballon D’Or 2012. This piece will look at their respective statistics so far in the 2012/13 La Liga and how they compare against each other. As both of their teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid, have played 17 matches, they’ve each played each team almost once. This allows for consistency, rather than including UEFA Champions League matches, where they play different teams. Due to their attacking prowess, this piece will only focus on the attacking and passing statistics of each.
Both players are known for their goalscoring feats for their respective teams. So far this season, Messi has scored 26 goals in 17 games, at a rate of 1.53 goals per match. On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in the 17 games which he has competed in the 2012/13 league season, at a rate of 0.82 goals per match. MESSI 1-0
Both Messi and Ronaldo usually are involved in many of their team’s goals and this includes assists for their team. So far this season, Messi has completed 5 assists for Barcelona, whilst Ronaldo has done 3 assists for his team. At this rate, Messi will do 11 assists over the course of the 38 games, with Ronaldo assisting 7 goals in 38 matches. MESSI 2-0
To go along with assists is the key passes (chances created) statistic. This highlights the number of chances which a player creates for their team and includes the assists. So far this season, Messi has played, on average, 1.4 key passes per match. Ronaldo has been able to play 1.6 key passes per match this season, which would suggest his fellow players for Real Madrid are not putting away their chances well. RONALDO 1-2
The next two statistics-dribbles and fouls suffered- are often very closely correlated. This is because attempting dribbles places the defenders under pressure to make decisions, whether to foul a player, dive in for an attempted tackle, etc. This season, Lionel Messi has completed 3.6 dribbles per match on average. For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo has completed, on average, 1.3 dribbles per match. This highlights the amount of pressure which Messi places on opposition defenders every match. MESSI 3-1
In terms of the fouls suffered per match, these statistics are very similar so far this season. Messi has been fouled 2.5 times on average in the 17 matches this season, and Ronaldo has been fouled 2.4 times on average. This statistic again shows how much Messi places an opposition defence under pressure, but also shows that Ronaldo is often able to place defenders under pressure and force them to foul him to stop him causing any problems. MESSI 4-1
As both sides like to play attacking football, it is important that the team is able to keep possession of the ball. For this reason, it’s important that players aren’t dispossessed too often in matches. So far this season, Lionel Messi has been dispossessed 2.8 times per match in average, whist Ronaldo has been dispossessed on 1.7 occasions per match in the 17 matches. RONALDO 2-4
As Barcelona and Real Madrid have enjoyed 68.8% and 57.9% of possession over the course of the season respectively, it’s imperative to be able to keep possession with the passing. This means it’s important to play a high number of passes but they must be successful passes. So far this season, Lionel Messi has averaged 58.1 passes per match at 85.9%. Comparatively, Ronaldo has averaged 33.1 passes per match at 77.6%. MESSI 5-2
As is well known, Lionel Messi is classified as the best footballer in the world. With his start to the 2012/13 season, he has only enhanced this. Cristiano Ronaldo has been down on his usually exceptional standards but is still doing very well this season. It will be very interesting to see whether Cristiano Ronaldo is able to win the 2012 Ballon D’Or or whether Lionel Messi will add to his collection of 3 Ballon D’Or titles a which he has already won.
All stats from Who Scored