It's all about headgear this week in the B/R Messi and Ronaldo Watch. So, then, what's your fancy—100 caps or 21 hat tricks?
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two biggest stars in world football, recorded eye-popping stats this week in the course of their work.
Which superstar was more impressive?
We've got all the details below. Read on, weigh the stats and decide for yourself.
(Graphic and stats courtesy of WhoScored.com)
Messi hat trick lifts Barca in nine-goal thriller
Barcelona outlasted Deportivo La Coruña 5-4 on Saturday in a wild Spanish league match at Deportivo's Riazor Stadium. Messi scored three goals to record his 21st hat trick for Barca.
Messi's goals came in the 18th, 43rd and 77th minutes. His first goal put Barca ahead 3-0 in a match that initially seemed like a rout.
Jordi Alba (third minute) and Cristian Tello (eighth) put Barca up 2-0 before Messi made it three with a blistering top-corner drive. Deportivo responded through Pizzi (26th-minute penalty) and Alex Bergantiños (37th) before Messi restored Barca's two-goal advantage with an assist from Cesc Fabregas.
Pizzi's second goal made it 4-3 in the 47th minute before Messi completed his hat trick in the 77th minute with a solo dribble and back-post finish. Alba's pretty own goal two minutes later made it 5-4 and set up a tense finish.
Messi's hat trick can be viewed in the video above.
Ronaldo scores again as Real win again
Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot as Real Madrid recorded a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Celta Vigo in La Liga action Saturday.
Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring with a picturesque, long-range shot/cross in the 11th minute. Ronaldo sealed victory with a penalty in the 67th minute.
Ronaldo’s penalty can be viewed in the video at right.
Ronnie’s 100th cap
Ronaldo earned his 100th senior international cap Tuesday as Portugal labored to a disappointing 1-1 home draw with Northern Ireland in UEFA World Cup qualifying.
Ronaldo, 27, started and played the full 90 minutes as Portugal’s captain. Niall McGinn put Northern Ireland ahead in the 30th minute, and Helder Postiga equalized for Portugal 11 minutes before the final whistle.
The draw left Portugal third in Group F, tied with Israel on seven points but behind on goal difference. Russia lead the group with 12 points from four matches.
The group winner advances automatically to the 2014 World Cup. The eight best group runners-up enter the playoffs to compete for four more berths.
Messi, Argentina win again
Argentina kept rolling in South American qualifying with a 2-1 away victory over Chile on Tuesday.
Messi scored the opener in the 27th minute, and Higuain added Argentina’s second three minutes later. Chile’s Felipe Gutierrez grabbed a consolation goal in the 90th minute.
The victory kept Argentina atop the South American qualifying table with 20 points through nine matches. The top four teams qualify automatically for the 2014 World Cup.
Keeping track and looking ahead
Messi has scored a La Liga-best 11 goals this season. He has scored 15 club goals in all competitions.
Barcelona host Scottish champions Celtic on Tuesday in a UEFA Champions League group-stage match before visiting Rayo Vallecano in league play Saturday.
Ronaldo has scored nine league goals and 15 club goals in all competitions this season. Real Madrid visit Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday for a Champions League match before a league trip to Mallorca on Sunday.