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Lionel Messi, Ronaldo put best foot forward: See their best goals of the season

Lionel Messi of Barcelona pipped Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the goals tally with the Argentinian scoring 14 more than his bete noire while lifting the Copa Del Rey earlier this week.

football Updated: May 29, 2017 19:25 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Lionel Messi,Cristiano Ronaldo,Leo Messi
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona in action against Real Madrid CF during a Spanish League match at Camp Nou stadium on December 3, 2016. (Getty Images)

The debate between who’s better between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi is an unending one. From pushing each other to bring out their best to becoming the driving force for their respective sides, the two are now intrinsic to their clubs’ success. (ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY FULL COVERAGE)

The 2016-17 season, however, has swung in Cristiano Ronaldo’s favour with Real Madrid winning the La Liga after five years and lifting the Club World Club title in December.

They will take on Juventus on Sunday in the Uefa Champions League final. A victory in Cardiff will make it a memorable season for Zinedine Zidane’s men.

Lionel Messi, however, pips Ronaldo in the goals tally with the Argentinian scoring 14 more than his bete noire while lifting the Copa Del Rey earlier this week.

HT takes a look at the goals scored by arguably two of the best footballers of this generation:

Penalties: Although the tag of scoring from the spot is usually attached to Ronaldo while mocking him, it’s actually happened the other way around this season. Despite missing two penalties, Ronaldo has scored seven times from the spot while Messi has converted nine times while missing once this season.

Dribbles: Unlike Ronaldo, Messi has scored most of his goals by dribbling past opponents or finding gaps in between three-four defenders. The best of such goals has to be the one he scored against SD Eibar, in which he picks up the ball near the half-line before going past three defenders, cutting inside the box and then finishing it with his weaker right foot.

Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t dribbled much for his goals and has usually relied on his brute force and headers to well-placed crosses to bulge the net.

Free-kicks and long rangers: Ronaldo wins this section hands down. It’s been almost nine years since he scored that audacious free-kick against Portsmouth for Manchester United, but for Ronaldo it seems like scoring from distance is simply bread and butter stuff even at 32.

His ability to swerve the ball both ways has often left goalkeepers guessing with the power behind the shots making it all the more difficult.

There were quite a few spectacular hits this season from distance but the one against Celta Vigo was out of the top drawer. It was a free-kick at a time when Vigo were leading 1-0 but Ronaldo angled the shot across from way outside the box and managed to beat the wall and the ‘keeper who was taking guard at the second post.

Pressure situations: It’s an even contest between the two one as both of them have proved their credentials both in pressure situations and against the big names of the world. Messi, in particular has scored the winner on five occasions after the 85th minute, of which four times he has scored it in the additional minutes.

The best of his comeback goals, however, has to be the one against Real Madrid where the eventual champions had drawn level through James Rodriguez in the 85th minute only to be outclassed by Messi in the 92nd.

On the other hand, Ronaldo has won a number of games single-handedly, including the World Championship final against Kashima Antlers where Madrid were 1-2 down before Ronaldo produced a hat-trick to clinch the Club World Cup for his side.

First Published: May 29, 2017 19:23 IST