Debate on who is the best penalty taker among Messi and Ronaldo has been ever present for sometime. After Messi’s bizarre penalty and rebound miss against Manchester City at Etihad stadium in the Champions League, die hard Ronaldo fans seems to have seized the moment by calling their idol the best in penalties and recent stats seems to agree with them.
The Argentinian has a 77.96 percent conversion rate in penalties with his club compared to Ronaldo’s 91.52 percent for Real Madrid. Messi has so far taken 71 penalties for club and country. Of which, he has scored 56 penalties and missed 15.
If we narrow it down, Messi has scored 10 from 12 penalties for his country, however he has a less than impressive record for his club. The Argentine has managed to score just the 46 penalties from 59 for Barcelona, thereby missing 13 in the process.
On the other hand, if we take Ronaldo, the Portuguese has taken the same amount of penalties for Real Madrid as Messi for Barcelona, with 59. However, the former Manchester United player has missed just the five times and has managed to score the remaining 54.
Most Messi fans would readily point out that Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliant goalscoring record at Madrid is largely down to the amount of penalty the Portuguese winger racks up. However, with the Argentine getting similar number of opportunities to boost his tally, the jibe at Ronaldo’s successful penalty record is somewhat baseless. Hence, it is not Ronaldo to be criticised, but Messi should be instead for failing to take them.
Messi has missed 5 of his last 10 spot kicks for club and country, including three of six for Barcelona this season. Tuesday’s miss was Messi’s third failed penalty in the Champions League. Incidentally, Cristiano Ronaldo has the same number of misses in the tournament along with Andriy Shevchenko. Only Thierry Henry with 5 misses and Ruud van Nistelrooy with 4 misses have missed more in the history of the UCL.
It shows that overall Ronaldo is better than Messi at penalties. It is also the reason why Ronaldo is taking them for Madrid. Despite not boosting a great conversion rate, why Messi is taking them for Barcelona? May be the four-time Ballon d’Or winner might have sighted the opportunity to score easy goals to match Ronaldo’s impressive record.
Before Ronaldo came to La Liga, Xavi Hernandez was assigned with the task of taking the penalties for Barcelona. But, after the rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo intensified, the little Argentine has took the mantle away from his reliable teammate. However, due to his recent poor run in penalties, Barcelona are suffering big time.
In the last couple of seasons, Ronaldo’s record from free-kick has not been good, hence we are seeing the likes of Bale taking more free-kicks to improve Madrid’s goal tally from long range set pieces. Hence, Messi should do the same by handing over the task to a better penalty taker in his team, thereby he should place more emphasis on his side’s glory rather than his personal glory with Ronaldo.