Cristiano Ronaldo eight behind Lionel Messi in ultimate GOAT tally

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In the eyes of many, Lionel Messi cemented GOAT status by inspiring Argentina to World Cup glory in 2022. It’s a feat Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t achieved with Portugal, and the triumph also moved Messi further ahead of his long-time rival in terms of trophies won.

By lifting the prestigious trophy in Qatar, Messi levelled Dani Alves’ record to become the joint-most decorated player in football history with 42 honours.

The 35-year-old has enjoyed a silverware-lined past year or so with Argentina, lifting his first Copa America in 2021.

He followed that up with Finalissima glory against Italy in 2022 before World Cup success in the Middle East.

Messi has won the Ligue 1 title and the Trophee des Champions across two seasons at Paris Saint-Germain and is on course to claim his second league crown this term.

But the Champions League has evaded him in the French capital, a trophy he clinched four times throughout an illustrious career at Barcelona, where he enjoyed the most of his rivalry with Ronaldo.

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The 38-year-old, now at Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, betters Messi on that avenue, winning five Champions Leagues with Manchester United and Real Madrid.

But he is eight behind Messi overall, lifting 34 career trophies, and only ranks joint-eighth in the list of the most decorated players in football history.

Ronaldo sits level with Vitor Baia, behind Andres Iniesta, Maxwell, Gerard Pique, Ryan Giggs and Kenny Dalglish.

The Portuguese icon hasn’t tasted silverware since winning the Supercoppa with Juventus in 2020.

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And he’s at risk of enduring another trophyless season at Al-Nassr, who trail Al-Ittihad by three points – having played a game more – at the Saudi Professional League summit.

Given Messi also trumps Ronaldo with Ballon d’Or’s, claiming seven to his five, the former boasts a firm claim to be recognised as the sport’s greatest of all time.

And the prospect of Messi’s European legacy living on longer than Ronaldo’s could very much be alive if he makes an emotional return to Barcelona this summer.

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