If you're not up for several hours of fevered debate, then it is probably not a good idea to drop the 'who is the best player in the world?' topic into a conversation right now.
That is because this season, that debate is even more hotly contested as Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's duopoly over the Ballon d'Or creaks and suddenly looks vulnerable once again.
While so often, the answer to the debate is unique to each and every fan, there are some objective truths that can be gleaned from statistics as to who really is the king of the game.
The top 10 players in the world based on statistics
10. Vinicus Jr.
Vinicus' stuttering emergence as a world class player has really clicked into gear this season as he looks more at home in the famous white of Real Madrid.
Having rattled in five goals this season alongside two assists, WhoScored have given Vinicius an overall rating of 7.63 once all their stats have been compiled.
9. Alphonso Davies
The Bayern Munich speedster has grown from strength to strength as he continues to establish himself as one of the most exciting footballers in the game right now.
The 20-year-old is absolutely flying under the tutelage of new boss Julian Nagelsmann and, with three assists under his belt, boasts a handy WhoScored rating of 7.63
8. Teji Savenier
Didn't see that one coming, did you?
You can't argue with the statistics, however. With three goals and four assists to his name, the Montpellier midfielder has racked up a very respectable rating of 7.68.
7. Kylian Mbappe
Despite all the hype surrounding the arrival of a certain Lionel Messi, it is Mbappe that is proving to be talismanic in Paris at the moment.
The 22-year-old is a man on a mission, scoring five goals and assisting four already this season.
6. Trent Alexander-Arnold
After a brief hiatus from his heady days of transforming the right back role last season, Alexander-Arnold is well and truly back to his best.
The superb right-back is one of the big reasons behind Liverpool's electric touch in front of gaols this season with three assists earning him a rating of 7.82 on WhoScored.
5. Dimitri Payet
Remember him? Yeah, he's still a baller and a half.
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Now in the colours of Marseille, Payet has been tearing it up in Ligue 1 this season, scoring five goals and assisting three.
4. Robert Lewandoski
Lewandowski is one of the hot favourites to win the Ballon d'or this year but the pragmatic statistics don't even have him in the top 3.
Despite the prolific Pole netting 10 Bundesliga goals already this term, his WhoScored rating of 8.14 just isn't quite enough to crack the podium.
3. Karim Benzema
The French superstar is enjoying one of his best ever seasons in a Real Madrid shirt.
With nine goals and seven assists so far, Benzema is by far and away the most important player at the Bernabeu right now.
2. Mohamed Salah
If you had assumed that Salah was top, not many people would have argued with you.
The Egyptian King has taken his game to a meteoric level this season, making the Premier League his playground to notch up 10 top flight goals for the Reds.
However, despite quite clearly being 'on a mad one', Salah's rating of 8.41 is only enough for second place.
1. Erling Haaland
The most exciting prospect in football is getting better and better with each passing week.
With nine goals and three assists already this season, Haaland has been the focal point for everything positive about Borussia Dortmund this term.
The fact that he has only made six appearances in the Bundesliga this season only further highlights his ridiculous form.