The race for the prestigious Pichichi Trophy continues to make for intriguing viewing as, once again, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi lead the way in the Spanish goalscoring stakes.

After Messi's latest exploits, the difference between the two formidable forwards stand at just one goal, with the Argentine behind Ronaldo's tally of 28 in 23 La Liga outings.

Ronaldo had opened a gap of five goals over Messi after scoring a header in Real Madrid's rout of Racing Santander on Sunday evening.

Los Blancos triumphed 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu to increase their points margin over Barcelona to 13 in pursuit of a first league crown since 2008.

Barca, though, reduced the deficit ever so slightly as Messi inspired Pep Guardiola's side to a 5-1 victory over Valencia at the Nou Camp.

Messi was at his quite breathtaking best; netting the each of Barcelona's first four goals to take his season total in all competitions for both club and country to an extraordinary 42.

Despite Messi and Ronaldo being the only players realistically competing for the Pichichi over the past two and a half seasons, theirs is a rivalry that still thrills and fascinates like no other.

We may well be witnessing the two finest players the game has ever produced competing for supremacy with each other on a weekly basis, and the winner of this season's Pichichi could well break La Liga's goalscoring record.

Ronaldo did so last season when he netted 41 times in 34 league outings for Real, although these exploits were in vain as Jose Mourinho's side ended up second best in La Liga.

This season, however, the 27-year-old will seemingly fire Real to glory - and winning the Pichchi will be even more significant.

The annals of sporting history provide insight into some great rivalries, with Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier and John McEnroe v Bjorn Bjorg two of the most iconic.

The former of the two in particular was not only about the pursuit of professional supremacy, but was driven by vindictiveness and borderline hatred.

This is what makes the rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi all the more fascinating, with the relationship one based on civility and respect, despite the status they both hold at clubs with an often bitter history.

In terms of sheer talent, Ronaldo v Messi is quite possibly a rivalry unrivalled in the history of sport, even it is only a subtext to the feud between Madrid and Barcelona.

Is Ronaldo v Messi one of the greatest sporting rivalries ever? Let us know what you think...

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