Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are largely regarded as the two best footballers in history. This amazing rivalry in Spain lasted nine spectacular seasons and is one of the reasons they now have a combined total of 11 Ballon d’Or honors.
Breaking the Record
The pair may have grown older, but they are still competing in terms of numbers, with Messi recently equaling one of his great rivals’ Champions League records with his brace against RB Leipzig on Tuesday.
In the Champions League, this was Messi’s 38th different team against whom he had scored. However, Ronaldo reclaimed the record barely 24 hours later when he scored against Atalanta, bringing his total to 39 goals against 39 different opponents in the league.
The 36-year-old, who returned to Manchester United after a 12-year absence, scored an 81st-minute winner to send Old Trafford into raptures, demonstrating that he is still one of the top goal scorers in the game today.
Since his comeback, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been in superb form for the Red Devils, scoring six goals in eight games across all competitions, and his form will be crucial if they are to fight for trophies this season.
When Cristiano Ronaldo arrived for Real Madrid in 2009 for €94 million, he became the club’s all-time greatest goalscorer and won 15 trophies, including two La Liga crowns, two Copa del Rey titles, and four Champions Leagues.
Ronaldo was named the world’s highest-paid athlete by Forbes in 2016 and 2017 and the world’s most renowned athlete by ESPN from 2016 to 2019. He is one of the most marketable and well-known athletes in the world. In 2014, he was named to Time’s list of the worlds’ 100 most influential people. He is the first footballer and just the third athlete in history to earn a billion dollars in his career.