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Messi and Ronaldo: The fans' view

50-50 Challenge
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi fail to score as Real Madrid, Barca draw

Despite both Messi and Ronaldo having goalless weekends, ESPN FC's Paul Mariner believes the Argentine is winning overall.

Each week, ESPN FC projects and reviews the scoring battle between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in La Liga.

Current goals total in La Liga: Ronaldo 14-6 Messi

It was a quiet weekend for both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, as both failed to score in draws for their clubs. 

Ronaldo set up a goal for Karim Benzema in Real Madrid's 2-2 draw at Valencia but managed just two shots himself -- neither of which were on target.

Meanwhile, Messi got just one of his four shots on goal as Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw away to city rivals Espanyol.

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored just once in his last four away games in La Liga.

Ratings and review

Here's what our Real Madrid and Barcelona club bloggers had to say about each man's performance.

Ed Alvarez on Ronaldo: 6/10 -- Started off well, leading the forward line and showing the energy this match demanded. However, he lost prominence as the match went by and could not finish the few occasions in which his teammates found him.

Francesc Tomas on Messi: 8/10 -- Drifted toward the middle more often as the game developed in an attempt to get more involved, but failed to celebrate the new year with the game-winning goal his team was so desperately craving. Smashed the crossbar with a a superb free kick that certainly deserved better. In what was a rarity, allowed his frustration to shine through in the dying minutes.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has not scored an away league goal since Sep. 12.

Socially speaking

How did Twitter react to Ronaldo and Messi's latest displays?

What do you think about Messi and Ronaldo? Let us know using the hashtag #ESPNFCMessiRonaldo. Plus, tell us who will win this season's scoring battle in our poll.

Who will score more La Liga goals this season?

The next game

Both men play at home on Saturday as Messi and Barcelona host Granada before Ronaldo and Real Madrid take on Deportivo.

The Messi vs. Ronaldo goals-projection model

All season long, ESPN FC, in conjunction with ESPN's Stats & Info group, will forecast the scoring battle in La Liga between Messi and Ronaldo using a specially designed projection model.

Here's an explanation from the model's creator, analytics specialist Zach Bradshaw:

"These projections account for the historical performance (goals scored and minutes played) of the two players since 2010, strength of opposing defences faced (measured by SPI defensive rating), game location, and the potential for injury or missing games. Based on these inputs, the predictor will estimate the chance of each player scoring any number of goals for each remaining game. From this, we can project the total number of goals scored, hat tricks, and the chance of each player accruing more goals than the other over the course of the entire Liga season."

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