I’m used to putting up with the irritating Messi devotees, who insist on belittling Cristiano Ronaldo and refusing to say that he is anything more than a “grandiose goal-scorer”. It’s their way of saying that the Portugal international’s game is only about goals, and that beyond putting the ball in the net, he contributes little to the cause.
Ronaldo right up there for assists
Yet, as always, Míster Chip comes to the rescue. He delved in to his inexhaustible supply of statistics to tell us that Ronaldo provided the 35th Champions League assist of his career in Nicosia. That places him in second place in the all-time rankings. Only Ryan Giggs (43) has assisted more goals. If he were so selfish, and so blind to anything other than the goal, I would suggest that he would not be so high up in that list.
Míster Chip also provided us with a brutal statistic. Ronaldo has reached the 100-goals-in-European-competition landmark (98 in the Champions League, 2 in the UEFA Super Cup) in just 95 matches. That gives him a figure of 1.05 goals per game.
Messi doesn't match up
Lionel Messi, the other individual in this personal dual that shows no sign of having an expiry date, reached 100 goals in 124 games with Barcelona. That’s 0.8 goals per game. In other words, the muscular and herculean Madrid goal-scorer is better in terms of collective statistics (assists) and individual statistics (goals).
One day, perhaps when he has gone and left us, Cristiano Ronaldo will be valued for his all-round football.