Though Manchester City are impressing world football with their tiki-taka style and Paris Saint-Germain are far from certain of being knocked out of the Champions League, Barcelona and Real Madrid are the main candidates to lift Europe's biggest club prize this season.
Arguably the best two squads in the world include the best two players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The statistics may paint an interesting picture this season, but as Ronaldo knows all-to well it is from February when clubs start to win silverware
Week in week out, the Argentina and Portugal internationals are breaking records. But with the Champions League approaching a key juncture, it is interesting to remark that some of the most important records have not been achieved yet by the pair. And some of them may never be.
Aged 33 and 30, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi will have to wait at least five years to beat one of the Champions League's greatest records. Francesco Totti was 38 years and 59 days old when he became the oldest scorer in the competition's history against CSKA Moscow in 2014, a feat which will challenge Ronaldo and Messi's longevity.
If they do indeed fall short they can at least become the oldest players to register in a final. Paolo Maldini's opener for AC Milan in the 2005 showcase might be a footnote in Liverpool's remarkable penalty shoot-out win in Istanbul, but the record has stood for 13 years throughout an era when footballers are fitter and better conditioned than ever.
When it comes to scoring goals in multiple Champions League's finals, Ronaldo is eyeing the record set by Alfredo di Stefano. Ronaldo's double – which took his total tally to four - against Juventus last May was the third time he has netted in the competition's final, compared to the seven which Di Stefano managed to score in five separate final appearances. Messi meanwhile has scored just twice.
It is difficult to understand why Messi still provokes criticism from fans all over the world, though his failure to so far test himself in another league is ranked among his shortcomings. He has not been able to prove himself in another division, at another club or even with his country Argentina - with whom he faces a potentially defining summer at the World Cup in Russia.
It appears likely he will end his career at Barcelona, so he will not have the chance to beat Clarence Seedorf's record of winning the Champions League with three different sides. The Dutchman won the trophy with Ajax, Real and twice with AC Milan.
Xabi Alonso had long eyed the record, but after wins with Liverpool and Real he was unable to follow it up at Bayern Munich. Ronaldo has lifted the trophy with Manchester United and Real, but his exit from the Bernabéu does not appear imminent, so it seems that Seedorf will hold the record for many more years.
Both Ronaldo and Messi have smashed the competition's goal record. The Portuguese star has scored 116 (15 with United and 101 with Real) whereas Messi has scored 98 with Barcelona. However, they will need to speed up to beat Roy Makaay's fastest goal milestone. He scored a goal with Bayern, against Madrid, after just 10.12 seconds. Maldini's aforementioned record-breaking goal inside 53 seconds against Liverpool was the fastest to come in a final.
When it comes to enduring quality, few players have been able to capture the consistency of Ronaldo and Messi. But Spain legend Raul is among them. The former Real star scored a Champions League goal in 14 consecutive editions.
Should he find the net in the competition during the 2018-19 campaign, Messi will match the record having scored in each of the last 13 seasons. Ronaldo however is two behind Raul, having failed to score in the competition proper during his first three terms at Old Trafford.
With the pair at the peak of their powers, more records are guaranteed in the coming months. However, some of them, as seen above, require more than just talent and pace. Will be they be able to rouse themselves again?