Updated 06:56 PM EST, Wed, Dec 08, 2021

Lionel Messi Better Than Cristiano Ronaldo? Facts & Stats You Need to Know

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Who between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi is the better soccer player? 

This has been a topic of discussion for quite some time, but recently, it seems Messi is getting more favorable votes. Among those who agree to this is Brazil legend Pele who told BBC that the FC Barcelona player is the "best in the world" for the past decade. The report noted that Messi has an edge over Real Madrid's Ronaldo in terms of wins (4-3).

"At the moment people always try to compare Ronaldo with Messi [but] it's a different style. They are two great players, but in the past 10 years the best in the world was Messi," Pele said.

The two players will go against each other on Sunday at the Nou Camp. They have been oftenly compared as they have been the leaders in their teams. BBC said Ronaldo has won three Premier League titles when he was still with Manchester United and one La Liga title. He also won the Champions League with both clubs.

Messi, for his part, has claimed championship six times with La Liga and three times with Barcelona.

"Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore, George Best - they were the same level as Messi. We had in Brazil Zico, Rivaldo," Pele added.

The Brazilian legend earlier claimed that he thought Ronaldo outclassed Messi at the time when the latter was nursing an injury.

Aside from winning statistics in their games, Goal.com said Messi also has a hand over Ronaldo because the Portuguese forward "failed to score a free kick for almost a year." The report said he missed his last 54 attempts for the club and the country he plays for.

Asked for a comment on this performance, free-kick specialist Marcos Assuncao told Goal that the Real Madrid player "is only going through a difficult spell."

"There are many free kicks in a match and it is normal for the ball to hit the wall or sail over the crossbar. We have to analyse if the wall is at the right distance, if the referee is counting the steps. The biggest difficulty for a free-kick taker is the wall not being at the right distance. So the ball often hits the wall or goes over the crossbar," he added.

But Goal noted that only 18 of 54 attempts on target is "a paltry return" for a player who is tagged as one of the best in terms of free kicks. It has also been observed that his style and technique of hitting the ball rely not on the accuracy in hitting the target but on fooling the goalkeeper.

With the facts laid out, Messi is indeed a step higher than Ronaldo but Pele was right in stressing out that they should not be compared as they are two soccer players with completely different attacks on the game.

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