Criticism of Cristiano Ronaldo’s 99 Portugal goals when compared to Leo Messi’s Argentina stats

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 99 Portugal goals

On Sunday night, Portugal completed their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 2-0 away win in Luxembourg.

Bruno Fernandes put Portugal ahead in the first-half, before Cristiano Ronaldo tapped in a late second.

Ronaldo toe-poked the ball over the line from a yard out, denying Wolves striker Diogo Jota his first international goal.

However, Ronaldo’s goal lifted him to 99 international goals.

Cristiano is now just 10 goals behind Iran’s Ali Daei, who holds the all-time international scoring record (109).

Why Ronaldo’s record isn’t incredible & comparisons to Leo Messi

On Tuesday, Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo and the Athletic’s Oliver Kay have both analysed Ronaldo’s 99 goals for Portugal.

Oliver Kay pulled out the following stats, while downplaying the amazingness of Ronaldo’s numbers:

Luxembourg, Faroe Islands, New Zealand, Lithuania, Andorra and Latvia are, respectively, 96th, 110th, 121st, 132nd, 136th and 143rd in the FIFA rankings. Racking up 23 goals against that lot has been an exercise in flat-track bullying.

Of Ronaldo’s 99 international goals, only seven have come in his four World Cups – and none in the knock-out stages.

Eight nations (Brazil, Italy, Germany, Uruguay, England, Argentina, France and Spain) have won the World Cup. In 24 matches against those eight heavyweight nations, Ronaldo has scored a grand total of four goals (those three against Spain at the last World Cup, plus one in a friendly against Argentina in 2011).

Mundo Deportivo compare Ronaldo’s stats to Leo Messi’s.

Of course, while Messi has yet to win a major international tournament in his career, Ronaldo lifted the European Championship with Portugal.

Yet, when looking at Ronaldo and Messi’s individual goal contributions, MD suggest that Ronaldo’s numbers are of less quality:

Ronaldo has scored 99 goals with Portugal, only 28 of them (29%) have been against teams of the ‘Top 50’ in the world.

In the case of Messi, 57 of his 70 goals have been against ‘Top 50’ (82%).

Ronaldo & Messi: International goal stats

Messi – 70 goals

5 – Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay

4 – Venezuela, Ecuador

3 – Colombia, Chile, Switzerland, Bolivia, Nigeria, Mexico, Panama, Haiti, Guatemala

2 – Spain, Croatia, Algeria, Hong Kong, Nicaragua

1 – France, Germany, Portugal, Peru, Iran, United States, Slovenia, Albania, Bosnia, Serbia

Cristiano – 99 goals

7 – Lithuania

5 – Andorra, Armenia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Sweden

4 – Estonia, Faroe Islands, Hungary, Netherlands

3 – Belgium, Denmark, Northern Ireland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland

2 – Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Cameroon, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia

1 – Argentina, Croatia, Ecuador, Finland, Ghana, Greece, Iceland, Iran, Morocco, New Zealand, North Korea, Panama, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Wales

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