CRISTIANO RONALDO and Lionel Messi continue their quest to be crowned football's true GOAT – but both have hit stumbling blocks this season.
Ronaldo, 37, quit Juventus to return to Manchester United last summer, while 34-year-old Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona.
Neither have quite been able to recapture their top form as football prepares to welcome the new generation of feuding forwards in Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.
Despite Ronaldo and Messi failing to hit their historic heights, the Portugal star has massive outperformed his old rival in one key area: importance to his team.
United are currently locked in a race to snatch a Europa League spot with their top-four hopes all-but over.
But things would be much worse for the Red Devils if they didn't have their talismanic striker.
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Ronaldo has netted a staggering 31.6 per cent of Man Utd's Premier League goals this season, comfortably their top scorer.
Meanwhile, PSG have stormed to the Ligue 1 title – with Messi responsible for just 5.1 per cent of the French giants' goals, according to BritishGambler.co.uk.
Bizarrely, Messi has only scored FOUR goals in the top-flight – level with defenders Marquinhos and Achraf Hakimi, as well as backup striker Mauro Icardi.
Messi has had to settle for fourth, behind Mbappe (24 goals), Neymar (11) and Danilo Pereira (5).
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Ronaldo has played nearly 500 minutes MORE league football this season.
However, the minutes-per-goal stats confirm the United man has enjoyed the better scoring season.
Ronaldo has found the net every 131.5 minutes in the Premier League, while Messi has been forced to wait 470.5 minutes per Ligue 1 strike.
And it's hardly for a lack of shooting either, with Messi miles behind in terms of conversion rate.
The Argentine legend has scored with just 5.4 per cent of his efforts, compared to Ronaldo's respectable 17.1 per cent.
In fact, Messi's "expected goals" (XG) sits at 0.38 – way above his 0.17 actual goals per game, suggesting he's been wasteful in front of goal.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, boasts an actual goals per game of 0.62 – very close to his XG of 0.64.
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Of course, goals aren't everything in football.
But it's clear to see Man Utd would be utterly lost without Ronaldo, while PSG would barely miss Messi…
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