IT is the endless question that divides football fans across the globe – who is better, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
Football fanatics tend to be parked firmly in one camp of the other – with the debate raging on in pubs, offices and playgrounds worldwide.
The greatest managers of the modern era have had their say, fans have had their say and even ex-teammates have waded in on the never ending GOAT debate.
On either side of the dual are two legends who have enjoyed glittering careers, loads of trophies, hundreds of goals and piles of personal accolades.
The pair know each other well, of course, having gone toe-to-toe in dozens of El Clasico contests down the years.
Not only would the rivals share the same pitch whenever Los Blancos faced off against Barcelona, but they would tussle for LaLiga supremacy season after season.
With the game currently KO'd due to the coronavirus crisis, we thought we would go a step further and bring to you how the goalscoring legends compare in those head-to-head battles.
In Spain, El Clasico is more than just a football match. It is a clash of cultures, a wrangling of ideologies and, of course, a showdown between the best footballers in the world.
Ronaldo has faced off with Messi 30 times during his nine seasons at the Bernabeu.
Barca's all time leading goal-scorer pipped the former Los Blancos ace by six goals in all of their meetings – finding the back of the net 22 times.
While Ronaldo may have six goals fewer in face offs with Barca’s No10, he holds the record for the scoring in the most consecutive Clasicos – with strikes in six consecutive games in 2012.
Messi poetically netted his 500th goal for the Catalan giants against Real in an El Clasico thriller in 2017, to put Barca top of La Liga.
The Argentina ace famously celebrated by whipping off his No 10 shirt and holding it aloft to the away support to prove why he is considered to be the greatest footballer of all time.
Ronaldo later had to have his say too, of course.
The next time he visited Camp Nou and scored in the Supercopa de Espana final first leg in August 2017- he mimicked his great frenemy's celebration by showing his No 7 shirt to the crowd.
In that same clash, Ronaldo's night hit a sour note when he was shown a second yellow card for diving, which resulted in the forward PUSHING the referee.
He had already been booked for taking his shirt off after mimicking Messi's celebration.
The Portuguese ace was furious when he was shown a yellow for going down in the box following a challenge by Samuel Umtiti.
The 35-year-old initially walked away in disbelief with his hands on his head but then turned back towards the official before pushing him with his right hand.
That has been the only red card shown in the duo's 30 stand offs with Messi managing to keep his cool and escape with three less yellows than his arch-rival.
When it comes to Clasico success, the Argentine maestro has been on the winning side more often than the Juventus star, with four more victories than the Portugal legend.
Ronaldo has enjoyed just nine victories over Barca, with a win percentage of only 26 per cent as eight fixtures have ended in a draw.
The Portugal icon left Los Blancos for a new challenge at Juventus in 2018 whereas Messi has played his entire career for Barcelona, becoming arguably the club’s greatest ever star.
Brazil icon Pele waded in on the greatest of all time debate last week,
The 79-year-old reckons Messi is best player of this generation, just months after siding with arch-rival Ronaldo.
Sun Sport recently brought to you what the superstars say about each other in the argument that divides football fans across the globe.
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