Indeed, it seems supporters of both players take the argument to mean that any of their rivals are being considered as on their level generally, rather than simply playing out of their skin for a season or two.
To suggest Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is only merely playing out of his skin at the moment would be unfair, of course. Still, the Frenchman has taken on the mantle of the club's main man since Ronaldo's departure in 2018 and was even named by Messi as a genuine rival to his hopes of winning the Ballon d'Or.
Such has been his brilliance in 2021 in particular, one supporter has crafted a Twitter thread to have gone viral.
Now, the title of the thread ('Why Karim Benzema is better than Messi in 2021') is a little provocative but a look into the goalscoring statics do make for interesting reading.
Here's where it's up for debate. The social media user has judged both forwards on their records in 'big games' this year which, frankly, isn't exactly the most scientific metric available. Still, Benzema comes out on top.
None of this is to suggest the Madrid star is any better than Messi, of course. Football is about far more than goals and assists and part of the Argentine's genius is that he does a lot of work to create space or play the pass before the assist, things that aren't as widely measured.
That's not to say Benzema doesn't do his fair share of work off the ball but, frankly, Messi has proven to be far more of an orchestrator over the course of his career. Able to drop deep and pull strings, it's only natural his brilliance is harder to measure.
Maybe, just maybe, we should learn to enjoy them all.News Now - Sport News