Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have defined each other’s careers, legacies and the world of football for over a decade.
They have managed to meet each other, scaling previously unmapped heights, yet they embody different philosophies.
There’s Messi — shorter, more introverted, a natural football genius who shares his creativity with the team, assisting almost as many goals as he does. And then there’s Ronaldo — tall, a physical specimen who bulldozed his way through defense, grafting and training until he was better than anyone else on the field.
But for all their accolades, none have won the World Cup. The Qatar 2022 competition could be the last chance to determine whether one of them can finally win the biggest trophy of all.
See how star players match up, going back to their professional debuts.
Ronaldo made his professional debut 17 years old, Playing for Portuguese team Sporting Clube de Portugal.
This is the first time Portugal has won the cap 18, Coming on as a substitute against Kazakhstan.
A 17 years old, Messi did it first 778 games for Barcelona. At the time, he was the youngest to represent the club in an official game.
Abhishek of Argentina, a 18 years old, As a substitute in a friendly against Hungary, but was sent off after just two minutes.
The first of seven goals at the Nets World Cup, four across the tournament, became— At the age of 21 – the youngest Portuguese player To score in the World Cup.
becomes Youngest player Representing Argentina in the World Cup and scoring in it 13 minutes, Became the sixth-youngest goalscorer in the history of the tournament.
He beat multiple Getafe defenders to score arguably his greatest goal. One of the 672 strikes For Barca.
Ronaldo inspired Barcelona to beat Manchester United in the Champions League final, his Second of four titles. He finished as the tournament’s top scorer.
Joined Real Madrid from Manchester United for the then world record $130 million fee
After inspiring Barca to a historic treble in one season, 22 years old The first Argentine to win the Ballon d’Or.
Won the inaugural Puskas Award for his electrification 40-yard field goal — Ball traveled at average speed 64 miles per hour — For Manchester United against Porto.
Argentina was knocked out 2010 World Cup to Germany in the quarter-finals. Messi is named in the best team of the tournament, but suffers from accusations of caring more for club than country.
Time magazine named Messi One of the most influential people in the world For the first of two consecutive years.
A 24, He broke Barcelona’s scoring record and set a record 91 goals in the same calendar year.
Time magazine named Ronaldo among them 100 Most Influential People of the year
Argentina lost to Germany in the World Cup final. Messi won a tournament record four Man of the Match awards in a single World Cup and received the Golden Ball award for the best player of the tournament. Seven goals.
CR7 Galaxy named after the soccer star, at the end of a season in which he enjoyed the biggest campaign of his club career, scoring 61 times in 54 games.
He became Real’s all-time top scorer 324 goals. He ended his career at Madrid 450 goals in just 438 matches.
A goal in the quarter-finals of the Copa America Centenario established him Argentina’s all-time top scorer. After La Albiceleste’s defeat in the final, he announced his international retirement, a decision he reversed shortly after a request from Argentina’s president.
Won first major international trophy at European Championships in France, but was reduced to tears after injury 25 minutes of the final.
Initially sentenced 21 months Imprisoned for tax fraud, but escaped with $2.3 million Instead, Messi – along with his father Jorge Messi – was found guilty of cheating Spain $4.6 million Between 2007 and 2009.
Became the first player to score a hat-trick against Bayern Munich 100 Champions League goals.
his score 100th Champions League Goal, Reached the milestone in fewer games than Ronaldo. Only he and Ronaldo have scored at least 100 goals in the competition so far.
first player To win the Champions League five times. He won his first with Manchester United in 2008 before winning the competition with Real Madrid in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
In Russia 2018, it happens first man to score eight Consecutive major international tournaments.
at the age of 33Ronaldo has signed for Italian side Juventus, according to a report $117 million Transfer Agreement.
Alleged rape by Catherine Mayorga, who claims she was paid $375,000 to sign an NDA; The case was later dismissed. He denied the allegations.
Messi left 37th minute Third place in the Copa America playoffs. He refused to accept his third-place medal and received a three-month ban from international football. $50,000 penalty
Messi’s photo of the Copa America — his first international trophy — was done most preferred Sports photos in Instagram history at that time.
Returned to Manchester United and finished the first season The club’s top scorer. In November 2022, ties with the team broke down after an explosive interview.
mark on a two years The deal for French side Paris Saint-Germain ended its long-term relationship with Barca as the Catalan club suffered financially.
Broke the international scoring record with two goals against Ireland, taking his tally 117 goals in 191 international matches and cemented his status as an all-time great.
First person to arrive 400 million Instagram followers.
winning record 164th Argentina caps and scores 90th international goal, Taking him to third place on the all-time men’s international scoring chart.
The goal of winning a First World Cup after four failed attempts. If he scores, he will become the first man to score in five World Cups. He needs three more goals to overtake Eusebio to become Portugal’s all-time top scorer in the competition.
The goal of winning a First World Cup after four failed attempts. If he takes the field in Qatar, he will enter elite company as only three players have featured in five World Cups before.