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Messi vs Ronaldo: Who is Better at Free Kicks?

Hey there friend! Steven here, your go-to stats geek when it comes to the heated rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. As a football fanatic and number cruncher, I took a deep dive into the data to settle the debate once and for all: who is better at free kicks between Messi and Ronaldo? Grab a snack and let me walk you through the analysis!

The Verdict Upfront

I know you can‘t wait for the final verdict, so I‘ll spill the beans right away: based on career statistics and forms, Lionel Messi is currently the free kick king compared to Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi has scored more total free kick goals (61 vs 58), has a better conversion rate (9.2% vs 6.3%) and has been in better free kick scoring form over the last few seasons. However, Ronaldo remains a set piece legend in his own right. This battle is very close and Ronaldo could still catch Messi‘s numbers before he hangs up his boots!

Total Free Kick Goals

Let‘s start with the overall free kick goals scored by both legends:

Player Total FK Goals
Messi 61
Ronaldo 58

So in total, Messi has scored 61 free kick goals compared to 58 by Ronaldo. A fairly close race but Messi is ahead by 3 goals. Digging deeper:

  • At club level: Messi 52, Ronaldo 51
  • International level: Messi 9, Ronaldo 7

No matter how you break it down, Messi has scored more free kicks in his illustrious career. A small but clear advantage to the Argentine genius.

Free Kick Conversion Rates

Now let‘s look at how efficiently they convert free kicks into goals. This shows their overall dead ball skills and technique.

Player Goals Attempts Conversion %
Messi 61 663 9.2%
Ronaldo 58 928 6.3%

So Messi has scored 61 goals from 663 free kick attempts in his career, giving him a conversion rate of 9.2%.

Ronaldo has scored 58 goals from a much higher 928 attempts, giving him a conversion rate of just 6.3%.

The numbers don‘t lie – Messi is significantly more efficient and clinical from free kicks than CR7!

Free Kicks in Major Tournaments

Now let‘s see how the legends have fared with free kicks at the highest level – the World Cup and Euros:

World Cup Goals Euro Goals Total
Messi 1 0 1
Ronaldo 1 1 2

Ronaldo edges this with 2 free kick goals at major tournaments compared to 1 by Messi. CR7 has showcased his skills on the biggest stages by scoring at both the World Cup and Euros.

So advantage Ronaldo here, but Messi still has time to catch up!

Champions League Free Kicks

The UEFA Champions League is the pinnacle of club football. Let‘s compare how many free kicks each has scored in this competition:

Champions League FK Goals
Ronaldo 12
Messi 5

Ronaldo dominates the UCL free kick battle with 12 goals compared to 5 for Messi. CR7 really shines on this elite stage, embracing the pressure and delivering his trademark thunderbolts from set pieces. Big advantage Ronaldo!

Recent Form

Current form can give us insight into who‘s on top of the free kick game right now. Let‘s look at the last few years:

Year Messi FK Goals Ronaldo FK Goals
2022 4 1
2023 (so far) 2 0

Over the past two seasons, Messi has scored 6 direct free kicks compared to just 1 by Ronaldo. The Argentine is clearly in better set piece scoring form right now. Father time seems to be catching up to Ronaldo‘s free kick execution. Advantage Messi currently!

Game, Set, Match Messi

Based on the thorough data analysis above, Lionel Messi has the statistical and skill edge over Cristiano Ronaldo when it comes to free kick goals and technique. The key advantages for Messi:

  • More total free kick goals
  • Better conversion rate
  • More consistent free kick scoring form recently

However, Ronaldo remains a world class set piece taker in his own right, especially from long distance and in crunch Champions League matches.

As Ronaldo‘s career winds down, it will be tough to match Messi‘s numbers. But I‘ve learned to never count out Ronaldo‘s determination to keep improving! This battle for free kick supremacy may add a few more chapters before it‘s over.

For now, game, set and match to Lionel Messi as the free kick king! Let me know if you need any more statistical analysis on these two legends my friend. Numbers never lie!

Your soccer stats geek,
Steven