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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both score in big weekend wins

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 16-10 Messi

Just as ESPN's projection model predictedCristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both scored at the weekend. However, with the Portuguese netting twice, Ronaldo has extended his lead over in the pair's head-to-head scoring battle.

Having failed to score despite taking 10 shots last week, Ronaldo was much more efficient in Real Madrid's 5-1 win against Sporting Gijon and scored with two of his five efforts.

Meanwhile, Messi converted a seventh-minute penalty in Barcelona's 6-0 thrashing of Athletic Bilbao but, after taking two more shots,  was withdrawn at half-time with a minor injury.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored six goals in his last five league games.

Ratings and review

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

Rob Train on Ronaldo: 7/10 -- Ronaldo buried a thunderbolt for his 15th of the season to a huge cheer from the crowd, then scored his side's fourth by latching onto Dani Carvajal's cross with a well-timed run. The No. 7 lost his rag a bit with a kick on Nacho Cases at the start of the second half and then missed a sitter after being put through by Karim Benzema. Moving into the middle in the second half, Ronaldo was guilty of a little hat trick fever, to the detriment of those around him.

Francesc Tomas on Messi: 7/10 -- The five-times Ballon d'Or winner shared his latest individual award with the crowd before kickoff and scored from the penalty spot shortly after. From that point on, the No. 10's evening went downhill, unfortunately, and ended up being substituted at half-time with muscular discomfort. Cules around the world are already crossing their fingers in the hope of good news on Monday, especially looking at the difficult schedule ahead in coming weeks.

Lionel Messi has scored in each of Barcelona's last five home league games.

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.

The next game

Messi is in action first next weekend as Barcelona visit Malaga on Saturday. The following day, Ronaldo and Real Madrid are at Real Betis.

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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