If the rivalry between CR7 and D10S has a worldwide dimension, it's because they compete on all fronts for all awards, from the battles between their respective clubs, to top scorer awards and the Ballon d'Or.
In the personal battle, both have dominated the European Golden Shoe and the Ballon d'Or. They won one each, this year, with Messi taking the former and Ronaldo the latter.
The fight for prizes and recognition continues on Saturday at the Santiago Bernabeu, where both have a new challenge: to end the calendar year as the top scorer.
At the moment, Messi and Ronaldo lead the way along with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski. All three have 53 goals, counting strikes for their clubs and their countries.
And all three have one game left this year, the Clasico for Cristiano and Leo, and Borussia Dortmund for Bayern's Polish striker.
Close behind that trio of attackers is Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani (52 goals) and Tottenham's Harry Kane (50 goals). Cavani has one game left, against Caen and Kane has two: Burnley (Dec. 23) and Southampton (Dec. 26).
Anyone of those five red-hot forwards could have the honour of closing 2017 as the year's top scorer, but the fact that Ronaldo and Messi's options come down to the same game is an added Clasico bonus.
A look at the statistics for 2017 shows that Ronaldo has been much more effective in the Champions League (19 goals) and with Portugal (11 goals) than in La Liga. In La Liga this season he has four goals in 11 appearances (19 goals in La Liga in 2017).
LIGA OR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
In contrast, Messi has scored more in La Liga, winning the European Golden Shoe and currently leading the Pichichi with 14 goals. There could have been many more, too, because the Argentine has hit the woodwork 14 times.
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