The modern era of the beautiful game has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, with the two legendary attackers setting the standards with their unbelievable goalscoring exploits over the years. Both players are still going strong despite entering their 30s and have etched their names into the history books, as they look to finish their careers on a high.
While Cristiano Ronaldo is currently plying his trade with Juventus, Lionel Messi is Barcelona's captain and looks set to extend his contract with the Catalan giants after coming close to leaving the club last summer. When it comes to goalscoring numbers, the two players are virtually unbeatable and the underlying stats add value to such claims.
However, over the years, both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo got a lot of support from a handful of world-class players, indicating that it is important to have a supporting cast regardless of how talented the protagonist is.
On that note, here are the five highest-scoring duos in the 21st century ranked in the increasing order of total goals scored in a specific season.
Note: All stats were gathered from transfermarkt.com
#5 Lionel Messi (73) & Cesc Fabregas (15) | 88 goals, Barcelona 2011-12
The 2011-12 season proved to be another trophy-laden one for Barcelona and Pep Guardiola, as the Catalan giants completed the domestic double. Unsurprisingly, Lionel Messi was in the thick of the action, as he scored a staggering 73 goals in all competitions for Barcelona.
The Argentine's partner in crime turned out to be new signing Cesc Fabregas, who returned to his boyhood after a sensational spell with Arsenal in the Premier League. The Spanish midfielder enjoyed a stunning return to the Camp Nou, as he scored 15 goals in his debut season at the club.
The pair combined for 88 goals, as Barcelona ended the season on a high by adding the Copa del Rey crown to their La Liga title triumph. It turned out to be Guardiola's last season at the club, as the Spanish tactician took over the reins at Bayern Munich a few months later.
#4 Lionel Messi (54) & Luis Suarez (36) | 90 goals, Barcelona 2016-17
The 2016-17 season led to another domestic double for Barcelona, this time under the leadership of Luis Enrique. The Spaniard completed a historic treble in his first season at the club and followed it up with two more successful campaigns, with Lionel Messi leading the charge yet again.
Luis Suarez, though, played a pivotal role that season, as the Uruguayan hitman was by far the most feared striker in the world at the time. He scored 36 times in all competitions in his third season at the Camp Nou, while Lionel Messi notched up a staggering 54 goals.
It proved to be Enrique's last season at the club, though, as the Spaniard left Barcelona after three fantastic seasons at the helm.