Barcelona and Real Madrid both won again at the weekend. Which superstar performed better?
The latter prompted Real Madrid's Karim Benzema to claim that "the Real Madrid of last season are back" (via ESPN FC). But one key difference between last season's team and this weekend's win was that Cristiano Ronaldo didn't score.
Goals aren't everything in football, even for two superstars known for their scoring ability. With the help of WhoScored.com, we're digging into the stats for both players in this week's B/R Messi and Ronaldo Watch.
Breaking down the stats
In addition to his two goals, Messi set up Alex Song's match-winner in the 28th minute against Real Zaragoza. It was his fifth assist in La Liga this season, according to WhoScored.com.
Ronaldo did not record an assist this weekend, but he had more shots (11-3) and shots on target (7-2) than Messi. The Portuguese attacker also made four key passes to Messi's two, made one defensive clearance and played one successful through ball.
Messi, however, dominated the remaining stats.
The 25-year-old Argentine forward recorded three successful dribbles (to just one for Ronaldo) and turned the ball over just once (four for Ronaldo). Messi completed 86 percent of his passes and two crosses.
WhoScored.com rated Messi at 9.61 this week. Ronaldo received a rating of 8.28. Both players out-performed their average rating this season in league play.
Keeping track and looking ahead
Barcelona and Messi travel to Russia to face Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Barca return to La Liga play with an away match at Levante.
With his two goals over the weekend, Messi leads La Liga with 17 goals this season. He has scored 22 club goals in all competitions.
Ronaldo is second in La Liga with 12 goals this season. He has scored 19 club goals in all competitions.