• Analysis

Ronaldo’s biggest competition

Cristiano Ronaldo - Juventus
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Few would disagree with the claim that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most legendary football players in history. The Portuguese star has taken home 32 major titles during his career so far, including seven league titles, a UEFA European Championship, a UEFA Nations title and five UEFA Champions League wins.

He may be a supreme player but there are still a number of talented contenders that are considered to be his rivals. In the football betting sakes, the live odds regularly show a select few players as having similar chances to him of scoring goals and assists in league games.

Here are some of the top scorers that are willing to give Ronaldo a run for his money:

Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? This is a debate that most football fans have found themselves in at one time or another when considering which player is the best goal scorer and all-round football legend in the world.

But who is the better player? There are a whole range of factors to consider when assessing a footballer’s level of skill. When looking at only the number of goals each player has scored, Ronaldo has fared slightly better overall.

Ronaldo’s best year was the 2014 – 2015 season when he scored 61, in comparison in Messi’s best year, the 2011 – 2012 season, he scored 73. It is also worth noting that Ronaldo has played in a couple more seasons than Messi has. Unlike goals scored, the amount of assists Messi has made is far greater than Ronaldo’s record. In the 2019 – 2020 season, he made 25 assists, while Cristiano made just five.

They have similar records when it comes to trophy and league titles, but Messi has a bit of an edge, having won La Liga ten times in comparison to Ronaldo’s seven wins. On the other hand, Ronaldo has one more Champion League title than the Argentinian player. He can also claim to have won the league title in three different countries, an impressive feat that Messi is yet to achieve.

While arguably Lionel Messi is the only current footballer able to match Cristiano Ronaldo’s incredibly high standards, there are a few other world-class players that have played at or near his level in recent seasons.

Romelu Lukaku

Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku is one of the top scorers in the Serie A and has had an impressive career so far. Following a two-year stint at Anderlecht, Lukaku played for a series of English football teams before his move to Inter Milan in 2019. In the 2018 World Cup he was the second highest goal scorer and went home with the Bronze Boot.

When comparing Lukaku and Ronaldo’s performance in the 2019 – 2020 season, you will notice they are almost neck and neck in many areas. For example, Ronaldo was first place in goals scored, while Lukaku reached second place.

Also, in terms of defensive skills Lukaku seems to have outshone the player somewhat. While they both made the same number of blocks, Lukaku had 48 aerial duels in comparison to Ronaldo’s 32 and over 100 more tackles.

Lukaku is equally talented off the pitch and can speak a number of languages including English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and a Swahili language, he can also understand German to a high level. The player has in the past stated that Ronaldo is an idol of his and his talent has changed football.

Zlatan Ibrahimović

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović is also another one of the greats who is making a big name for himself in international football. Ibrahimović has faced Ronaldo at least 13 times and has been victorious over him twice so far.

While Ibrahimović has more league titles than the Portuguese legend, Ronaldo has lifted the Champions League trophy four times with Real Madrid and once with Manchester United. This is an achievement that has eluded the Swede so far.

One of the most memorable encounters between the pair was the 2013 international stage game where a place in the 2014 World Cup was on the line. On the Stockholm pitch, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick minutes after Zlatan had scored and put the team just one goal away from qualifying.

Robert Lewandowski

Another one of Ronaldo’s biggest rivals has to be Polish striker Robert Lewandowski who is captain of the national team. He is the most successful player in Bundesliga history and has scored more than 500 goals during his professional career.

In the 2019 – 2020 Champions League season, Lewandowski scored 15 goals in just ten championship games. In the most recent season, he has scored three goals in his first four games. Ronaldo has a superior pass completion rate at 81.01% in comparison to Lewandowski’s 76.65%.

However, if anyone other than Messi is to come close to rivalling Ronaldo, then Lewandowski with his impressive Bundesliga record is the one to beat.