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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lionel Messi cuts Cristiano Ronaldo's lead, misses chance to get closer

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 27-22 Messi

Lionel Messi closed the gap on Cristiano Ronaldo by scoring once in Barcelona's 6-0 win against Getafe, although he also missed a penalty. Those were the only two shots taken by the Argentine, who also set up three goals.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo was shut out as Real Madrid earned a narrow 2-1 win at Las Palmas. The Portuguese forward took four shots, two of which he got on target. 

Lionel Messi has scored seven goals in his past four La Liga 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: 5/10 -- Ronaldo should maybe have beaten Javi Varas early on, but this was another low-key performance from the Portuguese after his recent resurgence. Zinedine Zidane won't be too bothered as long as Ronaldo turns it on when needed in Europe. He might as well have left his star man back in Madrid on Sunday, though. The centre-forward experiment has run its course. Ronaldo needs to run in his preferred left channel.

Francesc Tomas on Messi: 9/10 -- Another day at the office for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner. Missed from the penalty spot to take the Catalans' percentage this season to an alarming 50 percent with only 10 of 20 penalties converted. However, the No. 10 refused to throw in the towel and redeemed himself in spectacular fashion by providing Munir El Haddadi with an astonishing pass for the hosts' second, assisting Neymar for the team's third and fifth and scoring the fourth with a phenomenal long-range strike that made the Camp Nou faithful spring from their seats. A true genius.

Cristiano Ronaldo had scored five goals in his previous two La Liga games but failed to net on Sunday.

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 league game

Both men return to league action on Sunday. Messi is in action first, when Barcelona visit Villarreal. Ronaldo and Real Madrid host Sevilla later in the day.

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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