Just days before the return of the Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi returned to action after coming back from injury.
Barcelona's number 10 started on the bench in the Catalans' surprising 2-1 defeat against recently promoted Alavés, while the Euro 2016 winner was included in Madrid's starting line-up against Osasuna. He needed just 5 minutes to open his account again in a 5-2 win. Time goes by but these two players, arguably still the best in world football, still have their hunger for trophies, goals and assists.
In fact, he is the only player in the world to have scored more than 40 goals in seven consecutive seasons. He has won five Ballon d'Or awards, more than any other player in history. He is the only player to have scored in six different club competitions twice and he has the world record for the most official goals in a calendar year — 91 goals in 2012 — among a host of other accolades.
The battle between Messi and Ronaldo is fascinating, with both going beyond the limit. Having scored 365 goals in 349 games with Real Madrid in all competitions, Ronaldo became the first player to score in every minute of a game in La Liga, he has scored 30 hat tricks – eight in a single season, a joint record with Messi – and he is the only player in the history to score more than 50 goals in six consecutive seasons. The current European champion with Real Madrid and Portugal is the only player to have won a Champions League, Fifa World Club Cup, European Super Cup, domestic league title, cup title, the Golden Boot and the Ballon D'Or with two different clubs (Real Madrid and Manchester United).
There will be a 'before' and an 'after' when this two stars hang up their boots but there are still a couple more long-standing records in Spain and Europe they need to tick off.
Clarence Seedorf's Champions League title record with different teams
It is obvious this is not one for Messi. Unless there is an unexpected development, he will finish his career at the Camp Nou. However, Ronaldo could target Clarence Seedorf's record of Champions League glory with three different clubs, (ith the Dutchman lifting the famous trophy with Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan. Xabi Alonso is also vying to join him, having won it with Liverpool and Real Madrid in 2005 and 2013 respectively.
Telmo Zarra's haul for La Liga top scorer awards
Ronaldo and Messi have won the Pichichi award three times each, but they still need a few more seasons to beat Athletic Club legend Telmo Zarra, who won it six times. Aged 29, Messi has more chances than Cristiano, 31. But there is no margin for error in the coming seasons.
Ruud van Nistelrooy's scoring record for goals in consecutive appearances
Ruud Van Nistelrooy is one of the most lethal strikers of the last decade. Before joining Real Madrid, he was key to the dominance of Alex Ferguson and Manchester United and in the 2002/03 season scored in the Champions League in an incredible nine consecutive games, 10 including a goal in the qualifying round against Zalaegerszegi of Hungary. Ryan Giggs, by the way, has the record for goals in most Champions League campaigns, having scored in 16 editions of the competition out of a possible 17.
Bafetimbi Gomis and David Villa, records for fastest hat-tricks in Champions League and La Liga
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 30 hat-tricks in La Liga while Messi has done so 26 times. When it comes to the Champions League, they share the record with five. However, it was former Swansea City forward Gomis who scored the fastest hat-trick in Europe's biggest competition. He needed just seven minutes. In La Liga, David Villa holds the record, having scored three times in just five minutes. Cristiano and Messi will need to hurry up. Will they ever make it?
Raúl's goal record in consecutive Champions Leagues
Last season, Ronaldo surpassed Raul González as Real Madrid's all-time top goal scorer when he netted his 365th goal for the club. Before that, he beat the Spaniard in setting a new all-time record of goal haul in the Champions League competition with 94 currently to his name. However, Raúl scored in 14 consecutive Champions League seasons, and Ronaldo, who has scored in the last ten campaigns, must keep playing and scoring for five more seasons to surpass his former teammate.
Ryan Giggs' trophy record
Leo Messi has won 29 trophies with Barcelona after lifting the Spanish Super Cup in August. But he is still trailing behind Ryan Giggs, who won 36 trophies with Manchester United, a haul that is still to be matched by anyone.
Never say never in a challenge involving Ronaldo and Messi, but even by their lofty standards, it seems unlikely that they will be able to beat some of these records by the end of their careers.