Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are undoubtedly two of the greatest footballers of all time – but they are now in the twilight years of their careers. So how do their records compare in 2022?
Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer in 2021 but failed to live up to expectations during his debut season in France.
The Argentina international received a wave of criticism following PSG’s Champions League last-16 defeat to Real Madrid and was booed by his own fans.
“The whistles against Messi? It’s unbelievable,” Mauricio Pochettino recently told ESPN Argentina. “These are hard things to accept. A difficult situation to imagine and which cannot be understood in my opinion.
“All the more so with the greatness of Messi, what he gives and will continue to give to football.”
Despite the criticism, he’s since started to rediscover his best form and has helped PSG reclaim the Ligue 1 title. He also looked superb for Argentina over the summer and has started the 2022-23 campaign with a bang.
Ronaldo was also on the move last summer, leaving Juventus to join Manchester United for a second spell. He enjoyed a great start to last season but things started to go downhill under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.
The Portugal international had a really poor start to the calendar year and endured a notable goalless run, failing to score in six consecutive games for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
He couldn’t help United get past Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16 and also missed a penalty in their FA Cup defeat against Championship side Middlesbrough.
There was some improvement from Ronaldo towards the end of the 2021-22 campaign, but he was unable to fire United to any silverware or a top-four finish.
The 37-year-old is now enduring a season without Champions League football for the first time in his career after failing to force through a move away from Old Trafford in the summer.
Erik ten Hag has failed to reignite an immediate improvement and Ronaldo now appears to be suffering the indignity of being a squad player. He’s featured in the Europa League and has been used as a substitute by Ten Hag in recent weeks.
While the duo have won 12 of the last 13 Ballons d’Or, they’ll be missing out this year. Messi hasn’t even been nominated while Ronaldo appears extremely unlikely to place on the podium, with Karim Benzema the strong favourite to life the golden ball.