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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Projection: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo each likely to score

Current goals total in La Liga: Ronaldo 22-16 Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo leads Lionel Messi by six goals, and according to ESPN's projection model, both players have a great chance to add to their totals in midweek La Liga action.

Ronaldo is in action first, when Real visit Levante on Tuesday. The following day, Messi and Barcelona head to Madrid to face Rayo Vallecano.

(Numbers for each player are based on him starting the game.)

Last season, Messi scored a goal at Rayo, while Ronaldo had a brace at Levante.

2015-16 total goals projection

Ronaldo remains the strong favourite to win the pair's head-to-head scoring battle over the course of the season.

Between them, Ronaldo and Messi have won the past six Pichichi awards, given to the leading scorer in La Liga.

What do you think?

We want your input! Vote and let us know who you think will score the most goals this season, using the hashtag #ESPNFCMessiRonaldo.

Who will score more La Liga goals this season?

2015-16 milestone projection

By missing two months of the season with injury, Messi's chances to hit various goal landmarks have decreased. He is still predicted to end the season with an impressive haul, but Ronaldo is tipped for higher numbers.

Messi has 302 career goals in La Liga. Ronaldo has 247.

How does the projection model work?

Here's a brief explanation from its creator, ESPN Stats & Information 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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