February 5th is a big birthday in the world of soccer. Not only were football legends Carlos Tevez and Adnan Januzaj born on this day, but so were two humble lads named Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo. The two have dominated the sport in the past year, so its natural on their 24th and 31st birthdays, respectively, that we compare the two (although it’s safe to say Ronaldo has not been charged with tax fraud). The numbers are fairly staggering for both, so let’s take a closer look:
– Neymar has 211 goals scored domestically and internationally as he turns 24, more than both Ronaldo and teammate Lionel Messi had scored at that point in their careers. Ronaldo had only tallied 111 by that point, and Messi only had 180. In his first 121 games for Barcelona, Neymar already has more La Liga goals, Champions League goals and other cups than Messi did at this stage in his career.
– Neymar has 46 goals for Brazil before his 24th birthday, 8 more than what Ronaldo (21) and Messi (17) had at this point in their international careers combined. He’s already fifth all time on Brazil’s scoring list, though he’s 31 behind Pele.
– Neymar has won plenty of titles already, 14 with Santos, Barca and Brazil, but Messi had won 15 by his 24th birthday. Ronaldo had only 7 by this point.
– Ronaldo has scored 343 of his 518 career goals in a Real Madrid kit, and it only took him less than seven full seasons to become Real’s all time leading scorer. His goals per game rate is also more than double that of club legend Raul (1.05 to .44).
– Cristiano holds the record for most Champions League goals with 88, and Portugal’s international scoring record with 55. Messi is eight behind him with 80, and Neymar has 15, halfway through just his third Champions League campaign.
– Ronaldo is seven off of Telmo Zarra’s 251 goals in La Liga, which was first until Messi broke the record. He does hold the record for most hat tricks in La Liga with 29.
– If Ronaldo wins the Pichichi Trophy (the scoring title), he would be the second oldest ever winner of the trophy, at only 198 days younger than another Real Madrid legend Hugo Sanchez when he won the trophy in 1989-90.
– Ronaldo has (probably) set the record for the most time Ray Hudson has squealed on air, though Messi and Juan Riquelme are giving him stiff competition. Neymar is getting closer by the day.
Happy Birthday to both, and please give the world more great moments to savor for years to come.