Lionel Messi is a man on a mission in 2021.
The Barcelona legend is playing some of the best football of his glittering career at the age of 33, taking La Liga by storm in recent months.
Messi has dropped masterclass after masterclass in the Spanish top-flight of late, his latest coming in a 6-1 victory away at Real Sociedad.
The Argentine superstar scored two of Barcelona’s six goals, taking his overall tally in La Liga this season to 23 – which is four more than his good friend Luis Suarez in second place.
Both of Messi‘s goals against Sociedad came from open play as well, the 635th and 636th of his career in that regard.
Amazingly, that now means the diminutive forward has netted more non-penalty goals throughout his time in professional football than his eternal rival, Cristiano Ronaldo.
He’s also achieved that feat in 144 fewer games, with Ronaldo’s record of 635 coming in 1,054 appearances for club and country, per the messivsronaldo.app website.
Messi’s 636 non-penalty goals have also been scored at a rate of one every 117 minutes, while Ronaldo has struck from open play every 135 minutes throughout the course of his career.
However, while the Argentine is the winner overall, Ronaldo is dominant when it comes to non-penalty goals on the international stage.
For Portugal, the Juventus superstar has scored 91 non-penalty goals at a rate of one every 148 minutes.
In comparison, Messi has only struck 51 times from open play for his country, possessing an inferior ratio of 213 minutes-per-goal as a result.
Ronaldo (116) has also scored more non-penalty goals in the Champions League than Messi (104), but at a far slower rate.
The Portuguese is currently taking 134 minutes to strike from open play in Europe’s elite competition, while Messi is achieving the feat every 119 minutes.
A lot of numbers to take on board, we know.
Both players really have taken goalscoring to scary new heights throughout their time at the very top of the game and it’s a level that no other footballer has ever reached.
They are the two greatest the sport has ever seen and when one overtakes the other in a certain department, it’s always best just to take a step back and appreciate the greatness of both.
Because we may never seen anything quite like Messi versus Ronaldo again.