Cristiano Ronaldo extends lead over Lionel Messi but both score in big 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 27-21 Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were both in fine scoring form at the weekend but it was the Real Madrid man who did the most damage and, in doing so, extended the goals lead he enjoys over his great rival.
Ronaldo netted four times -- in just 26 minutes -- against Celta Vigo. It was the Portuguese forward's third hat trick of the season in La Liga. In all, Ronaldo took seven shots and got six on target.
Meanwhile, Messi scored twice in Barcelona's 4-0 win at Eibar. The Argentine was efficient in front of goal, scoring with two of the three shots he took.
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: 10/10 -- The Portuguese star destroyed Celta almost single-handedly. His rocket and a beautifully-taken free kick pushed the Gallegos out of the match and then he added another two more goals -- an easy tap in and a powerful header. He could even have scored another fantastic free kick, but Celta goalkeeper Ruben Blanco reacted well. It was an afternoon of glory for Ronaldo, who answered the critics in an emphatic way.
Francesc Tomas on Messi: 9/10 -- Always seemed to find an extra gear whether dribbling in possession or running into space to free himself of his markers. The best footballer on the planet scored the visitors' decisive second goal after a spectacular, blistering slalom from the half-way line. Despite the Catalans only scoring 10 of the 18 penalties taken this season, the No.10 coolly converted from the spot with a subtle dipped shot. Cules are truly privileged to have such a committed, commanding, ambitious player leading the way on a weekly basis.
How did Twitter react to Ronaldo and Messi's latest displays?
4th goal today for Cristiano Ronaldo. He breaks tie with Telmo Zarra, now 2nd all-time in La Liga with 252 goals; Messi first with 305.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 5, 2016
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 league game
Messi is in action first next weekend, when Barcelona host Getafe on Saturday. The following day, Ronaldo and Real visit Las Palmas.
The Messi vs. Ronaldo goals-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."