Messi vs Ronaldo: Who was better during their decade-long El Clasico rivalry?

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

The highly-anticipated El Clasico, a battle between Barcelona and Real Madrid, is set to grace our screens this Sunday.

Since 2009, with Ronaldo’s move from Manchester United to Real Madrid the game has set the stage for two of the greatest players in football, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, to go head-to-head in a masterclass showdown.

However, Messi had already featured in the high-voltage fixture before the arrival of Ronaldo in Spain, his first El Clasico was in 2005.

However, Ronaldo’s surprise departure from the Bernabeu this summer has concluded the longstanding El Clasico rivalry between the two players. The Portuguese ace left Real Madrid to join Serie A side Juventus in a €117m deal.

Messi will also not be featuring in Sunday’s El Clasico owing to an injury he picked up during Barcelona’s 4-2 victory over Sevilla last Saturday.

After a goal and an assist, the Argentine ace fell and landed on his right arm, resulting in his injury. Barcelona has confirmed that Messi will face a recovery spell of at least three weeks.

Therefore, this will be the first El Clasico without Ronaldo or Messi in a decade.

As the decade-long rivalry has come to an end, we take a look at the stats to find out who was the more effective player in the duo’s history with El Clasico:

#1 Most El Clasico wins

The El Clasico is the most anticipated game in Spain

The El Clasico is the most anticipated game in Spain

It appears the El Clasico showdown has been favorable to Lionel Messi over the years as the Argentine ace has won the game 17 times out of 38. This means the Barcelona captain has lost twelve times and drawn on nine occasions.

Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, has tasted about half of Messi’s success when it comes to El Clasico victories. The Portuguese has only won 8 out of 30 fixtures, losing 14 games and drawing on eight occasions.

Despite Messi having played in more El Clasico games than Ronaldo, his win percentage (44.7%) is still higher than that of Ronaldo’s (26.7%).

El Clasico wins

Messi – 17 wins out of 38 games (44.7%)

Ronaldo – 8 wins out of 30 fixtures (26.7%)

#2 Most El Clasico goals

Barcelona's captain is the El Clasico's all-time top scorer

Barcelona’s captain is the El Clasico’s all-time top scorer

The Barcelona talisman boasts of being El Clasico’s all-time top scorer. The Argentine ace has hit the net 26 times in 38 fixtures against Real Madrid.

Out of the 26 goals, 18 of Messi’s goals came in the LaLiga, two in the Champions League and six in the Supercopa. The Argentine, thus, has scored 0.68 goals per game.

On the other hand, Ronaldo has scored 18 Real Madrid goals against Barcelona in 30 fixtures, only eight goals behind Messi. This means Ronaldo has an impressive goals per game tally of 0.6, though still lesser than Lionel Messi.

El Clasico goals

Messi: 26 goals in 38 fixtures (0.68 goals per game)

Ronaldo: 18 goals in 30 fixtures (0.6 goals per game)

#3 Most assists in El Clasico

Lionel Messi is far ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of assists

Lionel Messi is far ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of assists

Messi once again dominates in El Clasico’s assist department as the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has 14 assists to his name in 38 El Clasico games. In the span of these games, the Argentine also created 68 chances.

Ronaldo’s assist numbers are pale in comparison to Messi’s as the Portuguese ace only has a single assist to his name in 30 El Clasico games. He has also only created 15 chances in comparison to Messi’s 68.

El Clasico assists

Messi: 14 assists, 68 chances in 38 games

Ronaldo: 1 assist, 15 chances in 30 games

Considering all the stats in hand, it’s safe to say when it comes to El Clasico, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi takes the title of the king.

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