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How many Champions League goals does Lionel Messi need to catch Cristiano Ronaldo?

03:00 BST 26/10/2022
Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo Champions League
With a Portuguese superstar set to miss out on elite club competition this season, could an eternal rival snatch another record away from him?

Cristiano Ronaldo has been pushing for a move away from Manchester United, but he is set to stay put and that could leave a record-breaking window of opportunity open to Lionel Messi in the Champions League. A Portuguese superstar will, as a result of collective struggles at Old Trafford, be missing from the grandest of European stages this season, but an Argentine icon will very much be there with Paris Saint-Germain.

A couple of eternal rivals that have spent the best part of their respective careers competing against one another currently occupy the top two spots on an all-time goal scoring chart in continental competition, but could Messi wrestle a piece of history away from Ronaldo in 2022-23? GOAL takes a look…

How many Champions League goals does Messi need to catch Ronaldo?

Player

Champions League games

Champions League goals

Cristiano Ronaldo

183

140

Lionel Messi

160

129

The group stage of the 2022-23 Champions League got underway on September 6, with PSG in action on the opening night against Serie A giants Juventus, with the Ligue 1 champions also facing Benfica and Maccabi Haifa.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner had 125 Champions League goals to his name at the start of the campaign, which is a stunning haul, but the mercurial Argentine still found himself some 15 efforts adrift of Ronaldo.

The man that has conquered Europe on five previous occasions with United and Real Madrid has found the target on 140 occasions when rubbing shoulders with the Champions League elite.

He will, however, be playing no part in 2022-23 as his club employers at Old Trafford could only muster a sixth-place finish in the Premier League last season.

Messi got himself four goals in PSG's opening four matches, thus narrowing the gap with Ronaldo to 11 goals.

What are the chances of Messi breaking Ronaldo’s Champions League goal record in 2022-23?

Messi has an unexpected opportunity when it comes to closing the gap on Ronaldo at the top of a notable goal list.

He would not have expected the man with five Golden Balls to his name to be absent from Champions League competition despite now being 37 years of age.

A desire to grace that platform once again is said to have figured prominently in Ronaldo’s thoughts as he pushed for a summer transfer away from Manchester – with an all-time great being linked with Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Roma, Napoli and even PSG at various intervals.

No deal was put in place and that means a Portugal international forward will be staying put until at least January.

Messi will, injury and suspension permitting, be involved in six Champions League fixtures prior to that as PSG seek to ease their way into the knockout stages.

If they were to make it all the way to the final in Istanbul on June 10, 2023, then a total of 13 games would be taken in.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility for Messi to register 15 goals across those outings – although he has never hit that mark before.

His personal best return across any single Champions League campaign is 14 – which was achieved in 2011-12 – and he has only reached double figures on five occasions.

That makes it unlikely that Ronaldo’s record will be ripped up by next summer, but if anybody is capable of achieving the unimaginable then it is Messi and it is safe to assume that he will be breathing down the neck of an old adversary if another piece of sporting history proves to be out of reach.