Who is better in the finals? – GiveMeSport

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Lionel Messi bagged his latest piece of silverware as a Paris Saint-Germain player on Sunday.

For all the doubts surrounding his reluctant move from Barcelona to the Parc des Princes, the one thing that everyone could agree on was that Messi wouldn’t exactly be short of silverware in France.

Even in what proved to be a relatively disappointing season for the French giants, Messi was still able to get his hands on the Ligue 1 crown with PSG finishing no less than 15 points clear of second-place Marseille.

More silverware for Messi

And Messi has certainly started his second season in the ‘City of Light’ on the front foot as he helped the Parisians get their hands on the Trophée des Champions with a 4-0 win over Nantes.

The 35-year-old got the party started with a fine finish at the Bloomfield Stadium, before Neymar’s brace and Sergio Ramos’ back-heel ensured that the Christophe Galtier era got underway in style.

However, more so than the positivity that PSG showed ahead of a vital season, the talk of the town was how Messi had added to his eye-watering tally of trophies as well as his strong record in finals.

Messi vs Ronaldo debate

As we all know, Messi is forever tangled in the eternal GOAT debate where every man and their dog in the sport, ourselves included, can’t resist comparing him to Cristiano Ronaldo.

And while the PSG forward might have moved even further clear of his iconic rival in terms of career trophies won, how do the two Ballon d’Or winners compare when it comes to their records in the finals?

Besides, despite Messi’s latest scene-stealing performance on the big stage this weekend, it’s often Ronaldo who’s painted as the superior of the two when it comes to one-off games with a trophy on the line.

PSG's Messi playing in a final.
Soccer Football – Trophee des Champions – Paris St Germain v Nantes – Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv, Israel – July 31, 2022 Paris St Germain’s Lionel Messi in action REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Messi vs Ronaldo in the finals

Nevertheless, on the back of Messi inspiring PSG to Trophée des Champions glory, we decided to test whether or not that was really the case by assessing the rich bank of data over at michelacosta.com.

A dedicated website to the never-ending Messi vs Ronaldo debate, its specialist section on the two stars’ records in finals is exactly what we need to cut through all the social media narratives and stereotypes.

And considering that Ronaldo is consistently made out to be the ultimate clutch player who shines when the chips are down, it’s certainly interesting to see that things aren’t quite that simple when it comes to finals.

So, without further ado, let’s allow the numbers to do the talking as we compare Messi and Ronaldo’s records in finals to see who really comes into their own when the pressure is on:

Finals played: Messi 39-32 Ronaldo

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Goals scored: Messi 32-20 Ronaldo

Assists provided: Messi 16-2 Ronaldo

Messi vs Ronaldo in the finals.
Messi vs Ronaldo in club finals.
Messi vs Ronaldo in international finals.

A win for Messi?

With more goals, more assists and more victories, you’d have good reason to believe that Messi having a better record in the finals is an open-and-shut case.

And perhaps the simple fact that Messi is proven to have the beating of Ronaldo in any way at all when it comes to big games is a victory unto itself given just how much the Manchester United star’s legacy is built upon shining when it counts.

However, it is important to disclaim that Ronaldo does have a marginally better win percentage in finals and a much superior record when it comes to curtain-closers on international duty.

Plus, it goes without saying that not every big game is necessarily a final and Ronaldo has rightfully built his reputation on dramatic comebacks and stoppage-time winners.

Ronaldo and Messi will battle.
Football Soccer – Barcelona v Real Madrid – Spanish La Liga Santander- Nou Camp Stadium, Barcelona, ​​Spain – 3/12/16. Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in action during the “Clasico”. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (SPAIN – Tags: SOCCER SPORT)

But you’ll forgive us for thinking that Messi is indeed the better player when it comes to finals because that slight 2.63% disadvantage in win rate is most certainly made up by having produced 26 more goal contributions.

Even in the aforementioned international finals where Ronaldo wins more frequently, Messi has still actually provided three goal contributions in those games whereas ‘CR7’ has neither a goal nor an assist in the finals for Portugal.

So, it’s a win for Messi, and that’s final.

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