If owning pretty much every goal-scoring record in the book wasn’t enough, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are set to achieve yet another landmark.
The duo are one goal away from reaching 1,000 combined career goals.
Messi has smashed 481 goals, including 49 for his country, while Ronaldo has hit 518 for Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Portugal.
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The four-figure total will be reached on Wednesday if the Argentine scores against Athletic Bilbao.
Should he fail to find the target against Bilbao (as improbable as that is), Messi has the next chance to reach 1,000 when Barcelona play Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
The Portuguese doesn’t feature until Sunday when Madrid take on Espanyol.
Messi and Ronaldo’s rivalry has been one of the greatest football stories of the 21st century.
Their relationship is based on competition for goals, Ballon d’Or trophies and La Liga titles and it’s to their credit that the last time Messi or Ronaldo wasn’t crowned world’s best player was in 2007.
Then there’s the manner in which both carry out their spectacular displays. Messi, reserved yet still viewed as a leader, strikes in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, Ronaldo is the haughty star with marksman-like decisiveness.
Football will be worsened when the duo are no longer competing against each other.
United interested in Ronaldo
Fortunately, we can enjoy their stunning performances for at least a few more years. Messi has admitted he doesn’t want to leave Barcelona and Madrid’s transfer ban until 2017 means they are unlikely to sell, despite reported interest from United and Paris Saint-Germain.
The race to 1,000 is on.