Key Passes - Messi vs Ronaldo All Time Key Pass Stats

League + Champs League Key Passes since 09/10

Messi League + Champs League Key Passes since 09/10

1270 Key Passes

Messi 2.42 key passes every 90 minutes

Ronaldo League + Champs League Key Passes since 09/10

884 Key Passes

Ronaldo 1.67 key passes every 90 minutes

League Key Passes since 09/10

Messi League Since 09 Key Passes since 09/10

1000 Key Passes

Messi 2.45 key passes every 90 minutes

Ronaldo League Since 09 Key Passes since 09/10

671 Key Passes

Ronaldo 1.68 key passes every 90 minutes

Champions League Key Passes since 09/10

Messi Europe Since 09 Key Passes since 09/10

270 Key Passes

Messi 2.31 key passes every 90 minutes

Ronaldo Europe Since 09 Key Passes since 09/10

213 Key Passes

Ronaldo 1.64 key passes every 90 minutes

Messi and Ronaldo Key Passes Breakdown

Unlike the stats above, the detailed stats below do not include stats from the current season.

First of all, what is a key pass? A key pass is any pass that leads to the recipient of that pass having a shot. To put it simply, a more accurate name for this stat would be "shot assist".

Key Passes by Length

Season / CompM Messi total key passesR Ronaldo total key passesM Messi short key passesR Ronaldo short key passesM Messi long key passesR Ronaldo long key passes
20/21 League77366735101
20/21 UCL23920930
20/21 Total100458744131
19/20 League89517548143
19/20 UCL17516510
19/20 Total106569153153
18/19 League9248844781
18/19 UCL2717251621
18/19 Total1196510963102
17/18 League8738813464
17/18 UCL1715161312
17/18 Total10453974776
16/17 League7931742853
16/17 UCL1920181911
16/17 Total9851924764
15/16 League77516651110
15/16 UCL1023102201
15/16 Total87747673111
14/15 League9576907254
14/15 UCL3616341620
14/15 Total131921248874
13/14 League7548674464
13/14 UCL1622152210
13/14 Total9170826674
12/13 League4663415459
12/13 UCL1723162112
12/13 Total63865775611
11/12 League92608350910
11/12 UCL3224312311
11/12 Total12484114731011
10/11 League6767606077
10/11 UCL2421222021
10/11 Total9188828098
09/10 League6575587471
09/10 UCL19919801
09/10 Total8484778272

The data shows us that Leo Messi makes cosiderably more short key passes and long key passes than Cristiano Ronaldo, although the numbers were a lot more even during Ronaldo's early Real Madrid years.

Although we don't have the data before 2009/10, we can theorise that Ronaldo's key pass numbers at Manchester United would have been fairly similar to his early Madrid career (if not greater) due to having more involvement in build-up play.

Key Passes by Type

NOTE: a key pass can be multiple types (e.g. one key pass can be both a free kick and a cross)

CornerFree KickThrow-inThroughballCrossOther
Season / CompM Messi corner key passesR Ronaldo corner key passesM Messi free kick key passesR Ronaldo free kick key passesM Messi throw-in key passesR Ronaldo throw-in key passesM Messi throughball key passesR Ronaldo throughball key passesM Messi cross key passesR Ronaldo cross key passesM Messi other key passesR Ronaldo other key passes
20/21 League907000422464428
20/21 UCL3020000060169
20/21 Total1209000423066037
19/20 League8080001611555345
19/20 UCL1011003012122
19/20 Total9091001911676547
18/19 League506000180876241
18/19 UCL00210050212015
18/19 Total5081002301088256
17/18 League404000113656730
17/18 UCL00100032101313
17/18 Total405000145758043
16/17 League303100131855625
16/17 UCL00200031351314
16/17 Total30510016211106939
15/16 League4050001701034948
15/16 UCL1000001115817
15/16 Total5050001811185765
14/15 League20220119513136356
14/15 UCL10100090232513
14/15 Total30320128515168869
13/14 League30520061876239
13/14 UCL00100042101119
13/14 Total306200103977358
12/13 League10300187273448
12/13 UCL00000031331119
12/13 Total1030011185104567
11/12 League506000341210154533
11/12 UCL10100091222121
11/12 Total607000431312176654
10/11 League3011002711443552
10/11 UCL20000082211418
10/11 Total5011003513654970
09/10 League40500021212113162
09/10 UCL0010003010199
09/10 Total40600024213115071

We can see that Messi makes a lot of key passes from dead-ball situations like corners and free kicks, whereas Ronaldo doesn't take corners and almost never attempts to assist from free kicks.

Messi also dominates the other key pass types, making around 200 more key passes from throughballs, 35 more key passes from crosses, and over 100 more key passes from "other" situations.

Set Piece / Open Play Key Passes

TotalSet PieceOpen Play
Season / CompM Messi total key passesR Ronaldo total key passesM Messi set-piece key passesR Ronaldo set-piece key passesM Messi open play key passesR Ronaldo open play key passes
20/21 League77361606136
20/21 UCL23950189
20/21 Total100452107945
19/20 League89511607351
19/20 UCL17521154
19/20 Total106561818855
18/19 League92481108148
18/19 UCL2717212516
18/19 Total1196513110664
17/18 League8738807938
17/18 UCL1715101615
17/18 Total10453909553
16/17 League7931617330
16/17 UCL1920201720
16/17 Total9851819050
15/16 League7751906851
15/16 UCL102310923
15/16 Total87741007774
14/15 League9576439173
14/15 UCL3616203416
14/15 Total131926312589
13/14 League7548826746
13/14 UCL1622101522
13/14 Total9170928268
12/13 League4663414262
12/13 UCL1723001723
12/13 Total6386415985
11/12 League92601108160
11/12 UCL3224203024
11/12 Total1248413011184
10/11 League6767416366
10/11 UCL2421202221
10/11 Total9188618587
09/10 League6575905675
09/10 UCL19910189
09/10 Total84841007484

As mentioned above, many of Messi's key passes come from set-piece situations, as he takes most of the corners and free kicks for his team. He has made over 100 more key passes from corners, free kicks or throw-ins than Cristiano.

Messi has also made over 200 more key passes from open play, but the numbers were a lot more even during Ronaldo's early seasons at Real Madrid.

All key pass stats are via Opta-powered WhoScored.

Updated May 14, 11:07 PM UTC