Ballon d'Or 2017: Cristiano Ronaldo v Lionel Messi - Who had the better year?
The winner of France Football's 2017 Ballon d'Or is set to be announced on Thursday, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi the two frontrunners to be crowned the world's best player yet again.
Kaka was the last player to beat either of them to first place in 2007, with every single one taken home by the Real Madrid and Barcelona stars since.
Ronaldo, the current holder, is thought to be the favourite once again and, should he win, he will go level on five with Messi as the player with the most Ballons d'Or.
The pair have enjoyed an immense rivalry over the years which has arguably helped to drive them both on to become the incredible performers that they are.
Ronaldo's bid for the gong this year has once again been helped by his success with Real Madrid, having helped them to a LaLiga and Champions League double last term, whereas the only silverware Messi lifted was the Copa del Rey.
But which of them has actually had the better year statistically? Below, we investigate using Opta numbers...
48 – Messi is just two goals shy of the half-century mark for Barca this year following Tuesday's Champions League clash with Sporting CP, 11 more than Ronaldo.
97.1 – With his tally of 48 goals coming in 54 matches, Messi is not far from averaging a goal every game, but he has to settle for one every 97.1 minutes. Ronaldo is a little behind at one every 103.35 minutes.
23.41 – Messi also has a better conversion rate at club level, scoring with 23.41 per cent of his shots (excluding blocks), while Ronaldo has been successful with 18.69%.
1 – Ronaldo became the all-time leading scorer in Europe's top five leagues in May 17, overtaking Jimmy Greaves (366) in doing so.
600 – In June's Champions League final, in which he scored twice, Ronaldo passed the 600 goal mark for his career, six weeks after Messi reached 500 for Barca.
3 – Ronaldo also became only the second player after Alfredo Di Stefano (five) to score in three different European Cup/Champions League finals.
37 – Messi finished top scorer in LaLiga last season, netting 37 times. That was the fourth time he finished a campaign as the league's most prolific marksman, making it a Barca record.
83.64 – At international level, Ronaldo has averaged a goal every 83.64 minutes, having scored 11 times in as many matches. Messi (four in seven) has scored every 157.5 minutes after a difficult year for Argentina, although a stunning hat-trick against Ecuador snatched World Cup qualification.
122 – One of few areas in which Messi has a clear lead of Ronaldo is chances created, with the Barca star laying on 121 opportunities to team-mates compared to his rival's 55.