thumbnail Hello,

The Portugal international finally got the better of the Ballon d'Or winner, but who was better overall throughout April? Goal.com takes a look at their performances

ANALYSIS
Compiled by KS Leong

As part of our monthly series, Goal.com compiles the statistical data, expert analysis, and progressive season records in La Liga on two of the best players in the world, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.


 

LA LIGA: ROUND 31



vs
Zaragoza
ZARAGOZA
April 7
La Romareda


RESULT Zaragoza 1-4 Barcelona
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 96
Goals 2
Assists 1
Shots
7
Shots on goal 3
Passes 48
Passes completed
37
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

8.0
Top of the Match
'Not his finest game but he was there, as always, when Barca needed him. He struck an excellent first goal after turning his marker and then scored his 60th of the season from the penalty spot. Was a constant threat and his ball set up Pedro for the fourth in added time.'



vs
Valencia CF
VALENCIA
April 8
Santiago Bernabeu



RESULT Real Madrid 0-0 Valencia
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 96
Goals 0
Assists 0
Shots
10
Shots on goal 2
Passes 44
Passes completed
32
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

6.5
'Should have scored his 50th goal of the season tonight. Was unlucky when he struck the post within the first 10 minutes with a deflected shot from 25 yards but there was no bad luck involved when he found himself through on goal and instead of shooting when he had the chance, took an extra touch and ended tripping himself up.'
TICS
LA LIGA: ROUND 32




vs
Getafe
GETAFE
April 10
Camp Nou




RESULT Barcelona 4-0 Getafe
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 92
Goals 1
Assists 2
Shots
5
Shots on goal 2
Passes 80
Passes completed 66
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

7.5
'Set up Alexis for the opener and scored the second himself after starting and finishing a one-two with Iniesta with a thumping shot into the roof of the net. Was always able to beat his man and hold on to the ball under pressure, but only some last ditch defending from Getafe prevented him from adding to his tally. Rounded off another impressive game as his free kick was headed home by Pedro for the final goal of the match.'



vs
Atletico Madrid
ATLETICO MADRID
April 11
Vicente Calderon



RESULT Atletico 1-4 Real Madrid
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 92
Goals 3
Assists 1
Shots
11
Shots on goal 6
Passes 37
Passes completed 31
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

9.5
Top of the Match
'Back on form with his free kicks as he put Madrid ahead with a sensational set piece. Then made it 2-1 later on with a stunning second and made it three from the penalty spot. Saw several more efforts come close and set up Callejon for the fourth. Imperious display.'

LA LIGA: ROUND 33



vs
Levante
LEVANTE
April 14
Ciutat de Valencia



RESULT Levante 1-2 Barcelona
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 95
Goals 2
Assists 0
Shots
7
Shots on goal 2
Passes 76
Passes completed 61
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

7.5
'Scored for the 10th consecutive game to level things up in the second half before adding a second from the spot minutes later. The first was a fine curling finish from the edge of the box after playing a neat one-two with Alexis while the second was a confident penalty past Munua.'





vs
Sporting de Gijon
SPORTING GIJON
April 14
Santiago Bernabeu





RESULT Real Madrid 3-1 Sporting
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 93
Goals 1
Assists 0
Shots
7
Shots on goal 1
Passes 50
Passes completed 41
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

8.0
Top of the Match
'Excellent running with the ball and made one stunning pass with his shoulder. Blasted a first-half free kick well over the bar and curled another set piece just over and was off target with a low drive on the turn later on. But scored the all-important second with a fantastic header which allowed Madrid to go on and win. Also set a new league-goal mark and should have had an assist, too, as he set up Higuain.'

LA LIGA: ROUND 34


vs

REAL MADRID
April 21
Camp Nou


RESULT Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 95
Goals 0
Assists 0
Shots
1
Shots on goal 0
Passes 55
Passes completed 43
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

6.0
'Delightfully set up Xavi for a fantastic chance in the first half that was squandered by his team-mate, in a half where he struggled affect the game greatly. Not his best match, one in which he failed to hurt Madrid in key areas.'


vs

BARCELONA
April 21
Camp Nou



RESULT Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 95
Goals 1
Assists 0
Shots
6
Shots on goal 2
Passes 17
Passes completed 11
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

7.5
'Took the sting out of any ascendancy Barcelona may have had in the first half with driving runs down the left-hand side, and eventually stunned the Camp Nou with an excellent goal with 20 minutes to go, one that is monumental in the destination of the Liga title.'

LA LIGA: ROUND 35




vs
Rayo Vallecano
RAYO VALLECANO
April 29
Campo de Futbol de Vallecas





RESULT Rayo 0-7 Barcelona
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 92
Goals 2
Assists 2
Shots
7
Shots on goal 3
Passes 79
Passes completed 68
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

8.0
Top of the Match
'Displayed terrific desire to drive into the box and get on the end of Pedro's measured pass to the back post, which he slotted home for the opening goal of the match. Found Keita with a magnificent defence-splitting pass which gave the Malian his goal. Set-up Pedro with a delightful lob over the defence and claimed his second with a cool finish from the edge of the area.'


vs
Sevilla
SEVILLA
April 29
Santiago Bernabeu



RESULT Real Madrid 3-0 Sevilla
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 93
Goals 1
Assists 0
Shots
5
Shots on goal 2
Passes 37
Passes completed 30
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

8.0
'Always looking to break forward and take on his man and opened the scoring with a great finish in the 19th minute. He then rattled the post in the 36th and could have won his side a number of penalties in a ferocious performance.'

APRIL STATISTICS
         

470 MINUTES PLAYED
469
7 GOALS
6
2 PENALTIES
1
5 ASSISTS 1
27 / 10 (37%) TOTAL SHOTS / ON GOAL
39 / 13 (33.3%)
338 / 295 (87.3%) PASSES / COMPLETED 185 / 145 (78.4%)
7.4 GOAL.COM
AVERAGE RATING
7.9
43 2011-12 LA LIGA GOALS 43
65 (56) 2011-12 COMPETITIVE GOALS (APPEARANCES)
57 (52)
http://i1.goal.com/files/images/stats/goal/team-logos/1/451_48x48.jpg

EXPERT ANALYSIS
KS Leong | Goal.com International Associate Editor

The Clasico unquestionably dominated the month and for the first time, Lionel Messi was outplayed. He has so frequently terrorised Madrid's defence but at Camp Nou, he was completely subdued, producing only a single shot throughout the 90 minutes. He endured the same frustrations in the Champions League against Chelsea, and this may be an indication that the big teams have finally found a way to keep him quiet.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that the Argentine may be suffering from fatigue but apart from the blip against Real in La Liga, Messi didn't show any signs to suggest a dip in form. He provided five assists throughout April, remarkably his biggest haul in a single month this season and with Xavi struggling for form and fitness, perhaps the three-time Ballon d'Or winner has taken it upon himself to become more of a playmaker. His two goals in the come-from-behind win over Levante were crucial as it kept Barca within earshot of Madrid prior to the Clasico.

After failing to score against Real and in the two games against Chelsea, Messi returned to his lethal best when he inspired the Blaugrana to a 7-0 hammering of Rayo, scoring two goals and supplying two assists. It may just be Rayo, but the Argentine showed that he can play and impress in the absence of Xavi and Andres Iniesta. It may be that Messi's game is starting to evolve again.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, had a less productive month compared to his rival, taking more shots on goal but scoring fewer, yet he had a higher average rating in April than Messi. There's one simple explanation for this.

Ronaldo and Real had to contend with some monumental games, including Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and of course, Barca. Apart from the stalemate against Los Che, the Portuguese star was inspirational for his side in all the other fixtures to dispel criticism that he is unable to deliver the goods in key matches. His near perfect 10 display against Atleti could go down as his best showing in the famous white shirt, scoring two outrageous goals and a penalty to complete his hat-trick and also providing an assist.

But it was in Camp Nou where he finally broke his jinx of regularly being overshadowed by Messi in a Clasico clash, scoring a clinical winning goal that may just have delivered Los Blancos the league title. He then netted a double against Bayern Munich a few days later in the Champions League, although his side failed to close out the tie to advance to the final. But if anything, the month of April showed that Ronaldo, ahead of Euro 2012, is ready to take his game to yet another level in his quest to regain the Ballon d'Or.


Who was better in April? Who was more consistent? Who was more productive? Join the debate on goal_intl and leave your tweets with the hashtag #goalh2h. Goal.com will publish the best comments in our poll result article on Friday May 4, 2012.

Related

From the web