Ronaldo v Messi: How their stats, goals & assists compare in 2022/23

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • Updated: 23 May 2023 22:14 BST
  • 9 min read
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi
© ProShots

Despite approaching the end of their professional careers at the highest level, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are still the two most talked about footballers in the world.

As well as their incredible status at the pinnacle of the sport, both players enjoyed productive campaigns in the 2021-22 season, proving they’re still capable of performing at the top.

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Ronaldo v Messi: How do their stats, goals & assists compare in 2021/22?

Ronaldo wanted to leave Man Utd in the summer of 2022 in order to play Champions League football, something the Red Devils weren’t able to provide after their worst finish in Premier League history last campaign.

However, he was unable to find a new club and remained a United player when the transfer deadline passed at the start of September.

But, the Portuguese legend has since left Old Trafford. Man Utd chose to rescind Ronaldo's contract by mutual consent in November following a controversial interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo is now an Al-Nassr player, having signed a two-year deal with the Saudi Arabian club. He has enjoyed a fruitful start to life at the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo at Man Utd: Goals, assists, results & fixtures in 2022-23

Lionel Messi at PSG: Goals, assists, results & fixtures in 2022-23

Out of contract in 2023: The best free agents available on a Bosman

On the other hand, Messi enjoyed a far more impressive 2022, with the Argentine performing better at Paris Saint-Germain than he did in 2021.

And, to cap off an incredible year at the age of 35, Messi guided his team to World Cup glory in Qatar, winning the Best Player Award in the process.

But even though many believe Messi sealed the deal in the GOAT debate with that success, the pair are still compared every single day.

Here are how their records compare in 2022-23:

Cristiano RonaldoLionel Messi
Games Played3439

Ronaldo v Messi: Who has scored more goals in 2022-23?

Messi has currently scored more goals than Ronaldo in the 2022-23 season. The PSG star has scored 20 goals in 39 games in all club competitions, while Ronaldo took until his tenth appearance to net his first goal from open play. He has now scored 16 goals in all competitions.

Ronaldo missed almost the entirety of pre-season following his request to leave Man Utd, which meant he didn’t start in their Premier League opener against Brighton & Hove Albion.

With Man Utd losing 2-0 at half-time, Ronaldo was turned to off the bench in the second-half, but he was unable to get on the scoresheet as Ten Hag lost his first competitive game as Man Utd’s head coach.

Ronaldo started the next match away at Brentford and played the entire 90 minutes as Man Utd were embarrassed 4-0 in London.

The 38-year-old played a combined 80 minutes from the bench in United's four straight wins over Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester and Arsenal, respectively. He was then left on the bench for the whole game of the 6-3 Manchester Derby thrashing on October 2.

Ronaldo opened his account for the season with his first ever Europa League goal, netting a penalty in United's 2-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol in September.

Ronaldo had a dismal showing against Omonia in the Europa League where he missed a sitter but he followed it up with the winning goal against Everton for his 700th strike of his career.

He then caused big controversy on October 19 as he stormed down the tunnel with five minutes remaining after being left as an unused substitute during the 2-0 win over Tottenham. He was punished by being left out of the squad for the next game against Chelsea.

He returned and scored in the 3-0 Europa League win over Sheriff as well as grabbing an assist in the final game of the group against Real Sociedad.

But his Man Utd career is now over thanks in major part to an explosive interview with Piers Morgan just before the World Cup break in which he slammed various figures at the club, including manager Erik ten Hag and owners, the Glazers.

Ronaldo has now departed Europe and joined Saudi side Al-Nassr, penning a three-year deal. However, he has failed to score in his opening two games for the club so far.

His first Al Nassr goal wasn't too long in the waiting, though, with the Portuguese finding the target with an injury-time penalty to rescue a 2-2 draw for Rudi Garcia's side against Al Fateh.

That spot-kick was just a taster, with Ronaldo running rampant in Al Nassr's next game - a 4-0 win over Al Wehda. Ronaldo scored all four goals, meaning he has scored at least a hat-trick every single year since 2010.

Ronaldo's next goals came two games later against Damac SC, where he grabbed a hat-trick and he also scored a free-kick against Abha in a 1-0 win.

He netted twice against Al-Adalah but drew a blank in the following game in Al-Nassr's goalless draw with Al-Feia as well as the loss to Al-Hilal.

However, Ronaldo returned to the scoresheet in Al Nassr's 4-0 win over Al-Raed but he failed to score in their next game, a 1-1 draw against Al Khaleej. Against Al-Tain and Al-Shabab he scored yet again in respective 2-0 and 3-2 wins.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Man Utd, 2022/23
© ProShots

Messi scored his first goal of the 2022-23 season in his first game of the campaign - a 4-0 win over Nantes in the Trophee des Champions. After a deflected through-ball from Neymar found the Argentine, Messi rounded the goalkeeper and passed it into the open net with his weaker right-foot.

In the Ligue 1 opener, Messi bagged two goals against Clermont Foot to get his league season underway. With PSG 3-0 up as the clock closed in on 80 minutes, Messi strolled forward, combined with Neymar before stroking the ball into the far corner with his left-foot.

Lionel Messi, PSG, 2022-23
© ProShots

Just six minutes later, Messi darted in behind and was picked out by a beautiful through-ball by Leandro Paredes; facing towards his own goal, Messi controlled the ball with his chest before he produced an outrageous bicycle-kick that looped over Mory Diaw to make it 5-0.

Messi didn't make a goal contribution in the 5-2 win over Montpellier, but scored and assisted in the following 7-1 victory over Lille.

He didn't add to his goal tally in PSG's 1-1 draw with Monaco, nor during the wins over Toulouse, Nantes and Brest but netted in the Champions League win over Maccabi Haifa and against Lyon before the September international break.

Messi scored a brilliant free-kick in the 2-1 win over Nice on October 1 and a fantastic curler versus Benfica before finding the net yet again on October 21 versus Ajaccio.

His scoring streak continued with two goals in the 7-2 thrashing over Maccabi Haifa and one in the 4-3 win over Troyes. That was his final club goal before the World Cup.

Messi then scored in his first PSG appearance back after returning from international duty - during a 2-0 win over Angers. After two games without a goal, he scored in back-to-back matches against Montpellier and Toulouse.

He missed the defeat against Monaco through injury, but returned to score a 95th minute free-kick winner to ensure PSG ran out 4-3 victors over Lille last time out.

Messi put in a man-of-the-match performance against Marseille, scoring once and grabbing two assists, before netting against Nantes the week after.

He followed that up with a blank against Bayern Munich in the Champions League which saw PSG knocked out before providing an assist in a 2-1 win over Brest.

However, PSG went on to suffer back-to-back defeats in the league against Rennes and Lyon, with Messi failing to score or assist in either game.

Messi netted a goal and assist against Nice as PSG returned to winning ways before he scored in the 3-1 win over Lens and set up a goal in the 2-1 win over Angers.

PSG's next game saw them lose 1-3 at home to Lorient with Messi failing to contribute despite playing 90 minutes.

Messi missed PSG's next game, a 3-1 win over Troyes, after being suspended by the club for an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia, returning to the squad the following week but not finding the net against either Ajaccio or Auxerre.

Ronaldo v Messi: Who has more assists in 2022-23

Messi is currently leading the assist tally against Ronaldo, with 20 assists to the Portuguese international’s four.

In the same game as he opened his Ligue 1 goal tally, Messi registered his first assist of the campaign. Just eight minutes into the fixture against Clermont Foot, Messi opened his foot up and lightly bounced Pablo Sarabia’s cross straight into the path of Neymar, who finished in the bottom corner.

His second assist came in the 7-1 win over Lille, in which he also scored.

He then delivered four assists in two games in the 3-0 victories over Toulouse and Nantes, before providing another in the 1-0 win over Brest.

Messi also grabbed a goal and an assist in the Champions League against Maccabi Haifa and yet another two assists against Ajaccio on October 21. This took him to double figures in assists for the season.

His run continued the following week with two assists against Maccabi Haifa and one against Troyes. He also made a goal against Juventus in the 2-1 win in Turin in Champions League matchday six.

Ronaldo's first assist came against Omonia in the Europa League, supplying Marcus Rashford's goal.

His second assist of the season also came in the Europa League, setting up Alejandro Garnacho in the 1-0 win at Real Sociedad.

Ronaldo had to wait until mid-February for his next assist - when he laid on two goals in Al-Nassr's 2-1 win over Al-Taawoun. The first was a beauty as he played a perfectly-weighted through-ball into the path of Abdulrahman Ghareeb to finish.

Ronaldo v Messi: World Cup 2022

Messi enjoyed a sensational 2022 World Cup as he led Argentina to glory in Qatar. Messi scored seven goals in the tournament and assisted three on the way to winning the Golden Ball as the competition's best player. He scored in every knockout round and struck twice in the final as Argentina won 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw.

Messi won the 2022 World Cup
© ProShots - Messi won the 2022 World Cup

Ronaldo endured a miserable World Cup, though. He scored just one goal in five games - a penalty. He was substituted in all three group matches before being dropped for the knockouts. He also had controversy off the pitch after reacting badly to being substituted versus South Korea.

Ronaldo v Messi: Who had more goals and assists in 2021-22?

The 2021-22 season was Ronaldo’s first year back at Man Utd and Messi’s first ever professional campaign away from Barcelona after he made his free transfer move to PSG.

Ronaldo v Messi: How do their stats, goals & assists compare in 2021/22?

With the two players in new environments, it was Ronaldo who adjusted quicker, scoring 24 goals in all competitions, while Messi scored just 11. However, the Argentine star was far more productive when it came to assists. He registered 14 assists, while Ronaldo could muster just three.

In total, Ronaldo performed better as he notched 27 goals and assists in all competitions, while Messi managed 25.

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