Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: The Race to 100 Champions League Goals

Cristiano Ronaldo is now just three shy of becoming UEFA Champions League’s first centurion after his brilliant double against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night.

The Real Madrid star scored a brace for his side in their Champions League quarter-final win over the Bavarians and, in doing so, edged further ahead of Lionel Messi in the race to become the tournament’s first centurion.

Ronaldo’s second-half double in Real’s 2-1 win in Germany moved him to 97 goals in Europe’s Premier Cup competition [excluding the play-off rounds], three ahead of his rival – Messi – who failed to score for his side as they lost 3-0 to Juventus on Tuesday night.

At the beginning of the season, one will believed Ronaldo has lost the race in becoming the centurion with 100 Champions League goals as it was Lionel Messi who had break Raul’s 71 goals record in 2014. Ronaldo skyrocketed Messi by bagging 16 times during Real’s Champions League triumph last season.

The impressive displays had seen him to 93 goals in the tournament proper, 10 goals ahead Messi. However, while the former Manchester United man had a slow start to the season, netting just twice in six group-stage appearances, Messi is down the pecking order again.

Messi took the season off with his three goals for Barca in their demolition of Celtic at Camp Nou to take full complete record of the Champions League hat-tricks greatest that he had shared with his counterpart.

He went on scoring another treble – making it his fifth in tournament history – in next outing against Manchester City, before he scored again in the return leg at the Etihad Stadium. Then, after a double at Celtic Park, and a solitary strike against Borussia Monchengladbach on matchday six, Messi moved to 93 goals, just two behind Ronaldo.

Unexpectedly, when the competition break resumed, both legends failed to score, with the Argentine man even failing to get a shot on target as Barca were surprisingly battered 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes.

Lionel Messi

However, whereas the Portuguese forward was stopped from the seeing the net as Real defeated Napoli 3-1 at the San Paolo, Messi converted a penalty in his side miraculously 6-1 victory over PSG to draw within one Champions League goal of his great rival.

In such a scenario, the Argentine man equaled his rival’s record of 11 converted penalties in the tournament. Of course, of greater significance was the fact that the Catalan giants became the first side in the Champions League history to experience a four-goal first leg defeat.

However, despite his best efforts for his side, it remains to be seen how they will past the quarter-final stage after slumping to a 3-0 loss in the first leg of their encounter with Juventus. Real Madrid on the other hand, look well placed for the next level thanks to Ronaldo’s brace at the Allianz Arena, which mean the Portuguese man is now just three goals away from becoming the first man to reach 100 goals in the Champions League outright.

Well, it remains to be seen if Barcelona will be able to repeat the magic they did against Paris Saint-Germain when they welcome Juventus at Nou Camp on 19 April – if not postposed – for their return leg. It should be noted that the last time Barça lost an away against an Italian Club (0-2 Milan), they made a come back at Camp Nou winning 4-0 (Allegri coaching Milan).

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Donald Stephen is a freelance football writer who knows only slightly less about football than you do. A regular contributor to Football Weeks, the Set Pieces, and others. You can connect with us on – Facebook and Twitter