On Lionel Messi’s 14th anniversary of scoring his first official goal with Spanish football club FC Barcelona, he did what everyone expected him to do: score his 600th career goal. A week prior on April 27, 2019, Cristiano Ronaldo, another renown soccer player, netted his 600th career club goal with Juventus. During no other era in soccer has there been two players of this caliber competing week in and week out for similar trophies and accomplishments. Every hard- core soccer fan should consider the notion that they are possibly witnessing not only the two best players of this generation, but of all time. However, Messi has simply been more efficient.
Messi’s first club goal was against Spanish soccer team Albacete on May 1, 2005, from a chip pass given by Brazilian legend Ronaldinho Gaucho. Messi received the pass with his left foot and chipped the goalie in a finish that made it seem like he was a decorated veteran. During the first goal, nobody really knew who Messi was other than a short 5’7” Argentinian player rocking a number 30 jersey as a late substitute. Fourteen years later, Messi has five Ballon d’Or awards and 33 Spanish club titles under his belt and is now the captain of the Barcelona squad. He wears the legendary number 10 jersey, he is remembered reaching his 600 goal with Barcelona after firing over a 30-yard free kick against the English football club Liverpool in the European Champions League semi-finals.
As for Ronaldo, his 600th goal was against Inter Milan in an Italian Serie A match, where Ronaldo scored the tying goal with a rocket left-footed shot into the bottom left corner of the goal. It took Ronaldo 799 games to reach 600 goals, while it took Messi only 683. Messi averages 0.87 goals per game, which is second to none and unlike Ronaldo, Messi reached this feat with only one club, while Ronaldo has played with four different teams in order to reach that amount. Messi reached his 600th goal competing for a trophy that Ronaldo had already lost, which was the 2019 Champions League.
Messi continues to transcend Ronaldo in records, such as assists. In his 14 year career, he has contributed to 274 assists and Ronaldo has only contributed to 219 according to a statistical analysis done by Michel Acosta.
During the time Ronaldo and Messi played in La Liga, Messi won more La Liga titles, La Liga Player of the Year awards and has held the record for most European Golden Shoe awards, which is given to the top scorer from every elite European soccer league. According to UEFA, Messi has received five and Ronaldo has only been awarded four. Messi is also the frontrunner to win it again this year as he is the leading scorer out of every European league.
Messi has also shown to be a more vital team player than Ronaldo by carrying various wins for the FC Barcelona squad, which is valued at 1.06 billion Euros according to Transfermarket.
One obstacle that holds some fans back from considering Messi as the greatest soccer player of all time is that he has not won a significant number of international trophies with Argentina’s National Team in comparison to other famous soccer players, such as Brazilian soccer star Pelé and fellow Argentinian player Diego Maradona.
When it comes to having skills on the pitch, some may run out of words to describe Messi. His visualization of the field, set-pieces and movement of the ball doesn’t compare to anyone who has ever played the game of soccer. Messi is a complete package who has scored numerous free-kicks to win games, headers to win finals and goals to secure a spot for his national team in the World Cup. Messi is left-footed, but the way he passes and scores with his right will make you think that he is ambidextrous with his feet.
Messi has already won the Spanish league this season and looks forward to the Copa del Rey final later this month along with the Champions League final where he will look to cap off the treble of titles.