Messi vs Ronaldo: Who had the best league season in 2018-19?

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Both strikers won their league titles this campaign, but who has had the better individual record since parting ways last summer?

This season saw the end of the 10-year rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after the Portugal striker left Real Madrid to join Serie A outfit Juventus in the summer of 2018. The two – arguably the greatest pair to have ever graced the football pitch – enjoyed an intense and competitive decade-long contest in La Liga as Ronaldo decided to seek a new adventure in Turin.

The two, however, will forever be known as a duality, a pairing where you can't mention one before immediately thinking of the other. It is a testament to how skilled they are as players that they are truly each other's best match. The two have continued to light up the pitch in their different European leagues this season, though, despite not lighting each other's fire in Spain.

They both won their respective league titles at the end of April for the first time since 2009, but who currently possesses the superior individual record? Goal takes a look.


Who had better league form in 2018-19 - Ronaldo or Messi?


Lionel Messi Barcelona 2018-19

Even in their so-called 'twilight years', Ronaldo and Messi continue to be incredible attacking threats. Messi has led the Golden Shoe scoring charts for the majority of the season by a comfortable margin with only Kylian Mbappe following him behind closely, and he looks set to clinch his third successive award.

He scored his 34th domestic goal in a 1-0 victory over Levante that sealed his side La Liga, which means that he surpassed Andres Iniesta to become the Barcelona player with the most league titles (10).

The victory also ensured that the Argentine won more points with his goals than any other player in La Liga this season (17 points with 34 goals), while also having scored his 24th strike as a substitute in the Spanish top-flight – more than any other player in the 21st century.

Ronaldo, however, had to take some time to settle into Serie A and hasn't quite managed to reach his Real Madrid heights. By the start of May, he was trailing Fabio Quagliarella, Duvan Zapata and Krzysztof Piatek in the Italian league's scoring charts, though has comfortably remained as Juventus' top scorer.

The Portugal striker netted his 600th club goal in all competitions against Inter on April 27, beating Messi to the feat, while also scoring 20+ goals in all the last 10 seasons in the top flight – including La Liga and Serie A.

By May 2, Messi has scored 34 goals to Ronaldo's 20, giving him a rather substantial lead. Messi has played in more games, though has also registered more assists – but has notably lost two games, while Ronaldo has remained unbeaten in his side.

Player Games Played* Games started Goals Assists Games won Games lost
Cristiano Ronaldo 28 27 20 8 24 0
Lionel Messi 32 27 34 13 23 2

*As of league matches played on May 2.

That's not to say that Ronaldo hasn't hit soaring heights at all for the Italian club this season. He is only the fourth Juventus player to score in both games played at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in a single Serie A season (after Higuain did the same 2017/18, Di Vaio in 2003/04 and Trezeguet in 2000/01).

In his first 17 Serie A appearances, the former Real Madrid striker also scored, on average, a goal every 11 shots – though in the next 11 games he scored one goal every five. He also possesses the most shots in total in Serie A (168), though Messi is once again ahead in terms of shots on target.

Ronaldo, though, has a better pass accuracy than his former Argentina rival, with an 85 per cent accuracy compared to Messi's 81 per cent.

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Additionally, though both players won their league titles this season, Ronaldo will be disappointed not to have gone farther in the Champions League with Juventus and to have missed out on several chances for individual honours. Having already won the tournament five times while at Manchester United and Real Madrid, Juventus had viewed him as a key to their quest for a first tournament victory since 1996. It didn't go to plan, however, after Juventus were shockingly knocked out by dark horses Ajax in the quarter-final stage.

The 34-year-old also looks set to miss out on the Golden Shoe by a considerable mile, with Messi – whose goals in the Champions League against Man Utd and Liverpool have been instrumental with Barcelona nailed-on favourites to win the tournament outright – having beaten him this season in terms of individual and team success.

Player Mins/goal* Shots, total Shots on target % passes successful
Cristiano Ronaldo 121 168 66 85%
Lionel Messi 74.41 163 83 81%

*As of league matches played on May 2.

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