Finally we reach the main component of each player: Scoring goals.
If Messi cannot be expected to compete with Zlatan's stats on headed duels, then nobody can be expected to live with a player in finding the back of the net when he averages a thoroughly ridiculous 1.55 goals per game in the league this season.
Even so, there are aspects of their shooting which can be compared.
First up, the totals.
Messi has 34 goals in 22 league games, plus five in six in the Champions League. Zlatan has an admirable one-for-one record domestically, hitting 20 goals in 20 Ligue 1 games, and a further two in six in the Champions League.
Both players recorded no goals in their one domestic cup appearance this term.
Total goals, Lionel Messi: 39 in 29 games, an average of 1.34 goals per game.
Total goals, Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 22 in 27 games, an average of 0.81 goals per game.
Both players are of course the top scorer by far in their leagues; Messi leads the nearest challenger (Cristiano Ronaldo) by 13 goals, while Zlatan has an eight-goal lead at the top over his fellow Ligue 1 forwards (Bafetimbi Gomis and Dario Cvitanich). Taking into account the top European leagues, Messi and Zlatan occupy places one and three—just Ronaldo is between them.
Delving further into their shooting statistics leads to some interesting insights.
Messi averages 5.3 shots per game, totalling 116 in the league this season. His 34 goals therefore give him a 29 percent shot conversion rate, a stellar average for a forward.
Few other high-scoring attackers from Europe's top five leagues can boast a comparable rate, with only the likes of Mario Mandzukic, Radamel Falcao, Adam Szalai and Dario Cvitanich reaching above a five percent conversion rate.
Zlatan's 5.1 efforts each game total 102 shots, giving 19.6 percent conversion rate.
Both Messi and Zlatan rank in the top four in Europe for highest number of shots per game.
With the two players in such scintillating form, both Barcelona and PSG will be confident of domestic glory—and either one could be key if the two sides should meet in the Champions League.
Statistical data from WhoScored.com