Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are undoubtedly the two greatest players of their generation and they have defined an entire era of football with their goals, assists, magical moments and incredible consistency.
Over the years it has been very hard to find noticeable differences between the two in terms of statistical comparisons, and between them, they have won the last eight Ballon d'Or awards.
That said, there is one key statistic, something that Cristiano has always considered himself to excel at, in which he is starting to fall behind his Argentinian nemesis.
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As seen by the infamous stance he takes up before taking them, the 31-year-old is known for his free-kicks and he's seemed to have almost monopoly power over them for both club and country throughout his career.
However, Ronaldo's stats taken from the last three seasons prove that Messi has been significantly more prolific than him from set-piece situations.
Cristiano's last 150 free-kick attempts
Out of his last 150 free-kicks taken for club and country, the former Manchester United winger has hit the wall 62 times, missed the target completely 40 times, seen his effort saved by the 'keeper 40 times and has scored on just six occasions, hitting the woodwork twice.
In recent weeks, we have even seen Cristiano choose not to take Real Madrid's free-kicks and, given his exceptional ability in the air, he's much more of a threat when he's looking to get on the end of quality deliveries from Toni Kroos than he is chancing his arm from range.
Compare that to Messi, who has scored nine free-kicks for Barcelona during the same period as well as three for his country, including his brilliant effort against Colombia in a World Cup qualifier earlier this week, which you can see below:
Cristiano vs Messi
Despite this alarming dip for the Madrid forward, according to stats from michaelacosta.com, he has registered more free-kick goals in his career (47) than Messi (29), constituting 8.36% of his career goals, compared to 5.51% for the Barcelona superstar.
Zinedine Zidane's side currently top La Liga on 27 points, two ahead of Barca, and face the daunting trip to the Vicente Calderon to play Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Messi will look to keep his goalscoring form going when the defending champions welcome Malaga to the Nou Camp, while Ronaldo will be hoping to end a run of five games without a goal for Los Blancos in what's sure to be a ferocious Madrid derby.
Who is better at free-kicks? Messi or Cristiano? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!
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