4th, 50/19 (11/2), CL 1st, 47/10 (10/4), CDR Championship Manager
2nd, 35/33 (11/8) 1st, 53/47 (10/2) Real Life
£21.5M / £65K £20.5M / £90K Value/Wage
Cristiano Ronaldo definitely stole the show in the club season, scoring a decisive penalty in the Champions League final against Liverpool. They beat Messi’s Barcelona in the semi-finals on the way to winning the trophy. Juve would finish in fourth place in Serie A and lose out in the Coppa Italia quarters as their attention was firmly on European football. It was only the second time Ronaldo had outscored Messi, it was Ronaldo’s best goalscoring season.
Messi did something Ronaldo could not boast, though, and that is a Liga and Copa double. Messi netted a goal in the 5-1 final win over Villarreal.
Ronaldo was named as Portugal captain prior to the World Cup, he repaid Carlos Manuel’s faith by netting in the opener against South Africa but they scraped through the group whilst Messi’s Spain coasted through with a 100% record. Ronaldo would score in a losing effort at the round of 16 to England. Lionel Messi would fall at the same hurdle, scoring his first tournament goal in a 4-1 losing effort to Argentina.
5th, 48/18 (8/2) 1st, 38/19 (8/2) Championship Manager
2nd, 54/53 (8/7), CDR 1st, 55/53 (13/4), CL Real Life
£18.25M / £85K £19.25M / £90K Value/Wage
Another season, another La Liga title for Lionel Messi, his fifth overall, as well as a cracking goal average of 0.5. Cristiano almost matched his Spanish adversary for goals but Messi played 10 fewer games. Early cup exits for both players allowed them to focus on Europe. Messi bagged two goals in the semi-final first leg against PSV but it wasn’t to be enough. Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus were fighting on no fronts, having missed out on Champions League football with a fifth placed finish.
4th, 41/15 (9/4), UEFA, CI 3rd, 45/13 (8/1) Championship Manager
1st, 55/60 (13/5) 2nd, 60/73 (9/12), CDR Real Life
£18.25M / £85K £18.75M / £90K Value/Wage
Based on trophies and goal return: you have to say Cristiano Ronaldo had the better season. A better goal return and two trophies with a UEFA Cup Final man of the match award against Schalke and a Coppa Italia final victory over Vicenza. However, Ronaldo’s Juventus seriously lagged behind in the league, as did Messi’s Barcelona. Juve were 9 points off the pace, Barca 7. The two teams above Barcelona in La Liga eliminated them from the cups. Celta Vigo did Barca on penalties in the Copa del Rey whilst Real Betis pumped them in the Champions League quarter finals.
Both had a disastrous EURO 2012, however. They both knicked a goal in the last game, a little too late as Portugal were stuffed 3-0 by Italy and Belarus successively before Ronaldo helped them to a 3-0 win over Bulgaria. Messi was less inspiration in their 0-0 draw to Iceland and a 2-0 loss to Germany but they could easily qualify with a win over Ukraine. Messi salvaged an equaliser but it wasn’t enough.
10th, 42/14 (8/2), CI 1st, 50/13 (4/3) Championship Manager
2nd, 55/55 (9/10) 1st, 50/60 (7/6) Real Life
£16.75M / £85K £17.75M / £90K Value/Wage
Lionel Messi took the best season award this time round despite Cristiano’s better goal average. Messi’s Barcelona won La Liga, his sixth in 12 seasons, on the final day with a win at Villarreal. It was Villarreal who dumped Barcelona out of the Copa del Rey’s second round. Celta Vigo would haunt Messi and Barcelona again, in the cruelest measure, a 1-0 win for Celta in the Champions League final.
Ronaldo, who was made Juventus’ club captain (this makes both Messi and Ronaldo captains of both club and country) after the European Championships could not share the same success. They triumphed over Turin rivals Torino in the Coppa Italia final but finished in 10th place in Serie A, 17 points off the pace and were dumped out of the Champions League qualifiers by Spartak Moscow and subsequent UEFA Cup first round by Halmstad.
Portugal’s World Cup qualification hopes were in their own hands, three points behind Russia with three games remaining. Meanwhile, Spain are hosting the tournament.
10th, 39/18 (10/4) 5th, 43/7 (9/4) Championship Manager
3rd, 47/51 (9/5), CDR, CL 2nd, 46/41 (14/8) Real Life
£15.5M / £85K £17M / £90K Value/Wage
To say Ronaldo and Messi experienced a lean year is putting it mildly. Ronaldo was only granted European football via Juventus’ Coppa Italia win the previous season. They faltered to a third round exit by Deportivo and a successive 10th place finish in Serie A. They were dumped out of the cup by lower league opposition, Palermo, like Messi’s Barcelona in the Copa to Gimnastica. Barcelona finished outside of the Champions League places, 11 points behind Atletico Madrid and would bow out of the Champions League on away goals due to a late Liverpool goal.
The World Cup wasn’t much more successful for either men. Portugal blitzed through the group stages, not conceding a goal in wins over France, Ghana and Uruguay. Ronaldo netted against Uruguay whilst Messi went one better as Spain squeezed through a group, conceding 7 goals. They beat Greece, drew to Mexico and finished off with a loss to Paraguay. Both would crash out at the next phase. Spain were humilated in the Nou Camp by England, Manchester United’s Jermain Defoe hitting a double and Portugal were done in extra time at the hands of Canada.