Lionel Messi came out on top when he went head-to-head with Cristiano Ronaldo in Saturday’s El Clasico.
The Argentinian scored once and assisted another as Barcelona ran out 3-0 winners against rivals Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
It’s been Ronaldo’s year. He claimed the Ballon d’Or and FIFA’s The Best prize following a season in which Los Blancos won La Liga and the Champions League.
Yet there remain many out there who would put Messi above the Portuguese when it comes to ranking the unbelievably talented duo.
After Messi broke five records on Saturday, including most goals and assists in El Clasico, Gary Lineker declared him the “best in history”.
And the way he’s going about things, the 30-year-old will snap Ronaldo’s run of two straight Ballon d’Or wins, which have left the pair tied on five each.
Messi has scored 15 goals in the league compared to Ronaldo’s four and Barcelona have a nine-point lead at the top of the table - they’re 14 points ahead of fourth-placed Real Madrid.
We’ve seen in recent years that winning trophies is a big factor in determining the best player of the year and Ronaldo or Messi will receive plenty more votes if either are lifting the Champions League trophy next May.
A enthralling battle against Paris Saint-Germain awaits Real Madrid in the round-of-16 while Barcelona renew their rivalry with reigning Premier League champions Chelsea.
That means Messi going up against Eden Hazard, who certainly knows who he would consider as the finest player in the world right now.
Hazard picks between Messi and Ronaldo
During a FaceTime call with former Chelsea player Jason Cundy, Hazard admitted that Messi is number one.
"When you are playing football, you want to play against the best team in the world, against the best player in the world,” the Belgian said.
“Messi is the best player in the world.”
What a thrill it will be for Hazard, then, when he lines up against the Barcelona forward in February and March.
Chelsea were always likely to receive a tough draw after they finished second in Group C but Antonio Conte insists his players will have no fear when they take on Barcelona.
“It’s a draw and our reaction must be positive,” the Italian said.
“As I know very well you must be ready to face everything and in this case you must ready.
“The past is the past. Now is the present and it is another story.”
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