Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo: Age does not stop them being catalysts of their clubs' fortunes
With yet another goal from a stunning free-kick in a dramatic 4-4 draw against 17th placed Villareal in La Liga, FC Barcelona's talismanic forward, Lionel Messi has surpassed the goalscoring record in the top five European leagues set by his counterpart, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Juventus forward has scored 414 league goals throughout his career in Premier League, La Liga and Serie A. On the other hand, the Argentine sharpshooter has now scored 415 league goals in La Liga itself.
Since scoring his first league goal for the Catalans in 2004/05 season, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored 415 La Liga goals over the years. This season, the Barcelona forward is leading the race for the European golden shoe with 32 league goals registered to his name, in the 28 appearances he has made so far.
On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo, who've spent time in three European leagues, starting with Manchester United and then spending nine seasons with Spanish giants, Real Madrid, before joining Serie A heavyweights, Juventus, last summer; has scored 414 league goals over the course. With 84 goals for the Red Devils, 311 goals for Los Blancos, and 19 goals for the Bianconerri, the Portuguese talisman is the second highest goal scorer in the history of the top-five European leagues - 1 goal behind demigod, Lionel Messi.
Similarly, the two greats are unparalleled on the European level, being two of the highest scorers in the history of the UEFA Champions League. However, the Portuguese prevail the Argentine in this sector; having scored 124 UCL goals compared to 108 goals scored by the Barcelona forward.
Despite being a 34-year-old, the former Real Madrid star is currently the second-highest scorer with 19 goals and 10 assists in the Serie A, while his 31-year-old analogue is leading the goalscoring chart in the Spanish league with 32 goals and 14 assists registered to his name.
The Juventus star, who've missed the last two Serie A games due to an injury sustained during the international break, is burning the candles at both ends to return for the crucial tie against Ajax Amsterdam. The Dutch outfit is amongst the top sides in the UCL contention, having already knocked out the defending champions, Real Madrid.
The never-ending Messi-Ronaldo debate isn't going to settle just yet. Despite their Ballon d'Or snub in 2018, the two footballing icons have shown no signs of stopping as they've been the stand-out players for their respective sides, FC Barcelona and Juventus, this season.
Praising the Barcelona talisman following their draw against Villareal, Ernesto Valverde said:
"Of course there is a Messi dependence, of course it exists, he is the best in the world,"
Both the iconic players have led their sides to a fascinating season until now. While Juventus and FC Barcelona are clear favourites for the league titles in their respective leagues, they're also in contention for the Champions League title. Both, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, almost single-handedly propelled their clubs into the quarter-finals as Cristiano Ronaldo struck a hat-trick against his former rivals, Atletico Madrid, while Lionel Messi scored a brace and set up another two against French outfit, Lyon.
With the crucial stage of the season at the doorstep, both the forwards would endeavour to claim the ultimate glory; the UEFA Champions League.