Lionel Messi equals Cristiano Ronaldo record with stunning Barcelona brace

Lionel Messi has gone level with Cristiano Ronaldo on goals scored from open-play – despite being three years younger than his long-time rival.

The Barcelona captain scored twice against Alaves on Saturday to take his La Liga tally to 15 for the season, with both goals coming from outside the box.

The 33-year-old and his Portuguese counterpart have been compared directly since the latter left Manchester United for Real Madrid, and doubters have often mentioned his penalty goals.

The figures prove that Juventus star Ronaldo has in fact scored far more penalties than Messi, which makes their tallies from open play all the more interesting.

As reported by michelacosta, Messi's double has taken his tally from open-play to 573 in his career.

Despite being two years older, Ronaldo has managed the same amount as his rival, despite playing 145 more official games than the Argentine.

In total, Ronaldo has managed 763 goals to Messi’s 723, and the main gap is the penalty numbers.

The Portugal skipper has scored 38 times more from the spot across their careers.

Jamie Carragher entered the debate regarding the two players earlier this year, and he believes that he is in agreement with the majority.

"Messi, I've never changed that. I think I'm with the majority on that," Carragher told the Pure Football Podcast when asked who is better.

"I think I have possibly more respect for Ronaldo and the reason I say that is because he has got unbelievable talent but his mentality, his focus, his work rate has made him what he is, or got him to where he is, has taken him to another level.

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  • "Whenever you think he's finished or Messi's done something amazing, he comes back with something again and again and again.

    "And it must have been tough for him at times. Even when he was at late stages at United, early days at Madrid where no matter what he did, people would say Messi, Messi, Messi. I think now it's a bit more even.

    "But I think with all those Ballon d'Ors Messi was winning, even when Ronaldo was playing out of his skin. But he still came back for more and that's what I respect so much."

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