Cristiano Ronaldo is experiencing his worst start in La Liga, while Lionel Messi began the campaign with guns blazing. However, when it comes to their national teams, Ronaldo is clearly outscoring his longstanding rival.
The Portuguese is yet to score a league goal after missing the first four games of the season due to suspension and failing to hit the back of the net in his three appearances since.
Messi, meanwhile, started the new league campaign with 11 goals in just seven games, with only Monaco's Radamel Falcao having scored more in Europe's top five leagues.
Both have left their respective clubs to report for national team duty, where Ronaldo's form eclipses his rival's by far.
The 32-year-old has already scored 10 goals in nine appearances for Portugal this year, and currently sits in third place in the worldwide 2018 FIFA World Cup scorers ranking table.
Messi, on the other hand, has only netted once for Argentina in 2017, but also appeared in five games less than Ronaldo, missing one match due to suspension and a friendly because of his wedding.
Overall, the FC Barcelona talisman has scored 58 goals in 118 appearances for Argentina, while Ronaldo sits on 78 strikes in 145 games for Portugal.
Both their countries will need the two superstars at their best in order to keep their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification hopes alive.
The Albiceleste, who are currently fifth in the South American qualification group, will face Peru and Ecuador in their final two qualifiers, while Portugal first travel to Andorra before a must-win clash with Switzerland, who sit three points above them in their European qualification group.
If Argentina remain in fifth spot and Portugal stay in second position, both countries would have to go into playoff ties in order to secure a World Cup ticket.
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