Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi: Man Utd and PSG stars’ head to head record as they face Champions League showdown – The Sun

IT IS the question that divides football fans across the globe –  who is better: Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?

They gave El Clasicos a bit of extra spice for nine years and now, they could be set to face off against each other again in the Champions League.

Due to Manchester United finishing top of their group, and Paris Saint-Germain coming in at second in theirs, Messi and Ronaldo could face off in the Round of 16.

The greatest managers of the modern era have had their say, fans have had their say and even former team-mates have waded in on the never-ending GOAT debate.

So SunSport thought we'd look past the trophies and accolades to see how they fared when they were in direct competition.

The pair know each other well, of course, having gone toe-to-toe in dozens of El Clasico contests down the years.

Not only would the rivals share the same pitch whenever Real Madrid played against Barcelona, but they would tussle for LaLiga supremacy season after season.

El Clasico has always been more that just a football match to the clubs' fans and having the two best players in the world took it to a different dimension.

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Ronaldo has gone up against Messi 36 times in total during his spells at Manchester United and Real Madrid, Juventus as well as on the international stage.

The Portuguese legend was ruled out of the first group stage game between Juve and Barcelona due to coronavirus – but made sure to get revenge in the return fixture netting a brace from the penalty spot.

Messi pipped the former Los Blancos ace by one goals in all of their meetings, finding the back of the net 22 times.

While Ronaldo may have one goal fewer, he holds the record for the scoring in the most consecutive El Clasicos – in six consecutive games in 2012.

Messi poetically netted his 500th goal for the Catalan giants against Real in a thriller in 2017, which also put Barca top of LaLiga.

The Argentina ace famously celebrated by whipping off his No10 shirt and holding it aloft to the away support to prove why he is considered to be the greatest footballer of all time.

Ronaldo later had to have his say too, of course.

The next time he visited the Nou Camp and scored in the Supercopa de Espana final first leg in August 2017, he mimicked his great frenemy's celebration by showing his No7 shirt to the crowd.

In that same clash, Ronaldo's night hit a sour note when he was shown a second yellow card for diving, which resulted in the forward PUSHING the referee.

He had already been booked for taking his shirt off after mimicking Messi's celebration.

That has been the only red card shown to either hero in the duo's 36 stand offs with Messi managing to keep his cool and escape with three fewer yellows than his arch-rival.

Football is a results business so when it comes to score lines, the Argentine maestro leads the way.

In the 35 matches, Messi has 16 wins, Ronaldo has 11 and there have been nine draws.

Ronaldo's United got the better of Barca in the 2008 Champions League semi-finals with a 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp and 1-0 win at Old Trafford.

Messi and Co got their revenge a year later, winning the 2009 final 2-0 as Messi scored a header.

That started a run of five consecutive wins for Messi over Ronaldo including a 5-0 Barca win and a 2-1 victory for Argentina over Portugal in an international friendly as both players found the net.

Arguably their greatest contest came in the 2012-13 LaLiga campaign as both players scored twice in a 2-2 draw in Barcelona.

Messi played his entire career at Barca up until last summer when his contract expired.

The Argentine signed for PSG and has five UCL goals in the group stages, but it's not quite Ronaldo's six for United.

Ronaldo might just get the chance to show Messi up after his record-breaking seventh Ballon d'Or win.

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