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The two biggest stars in Spain have been in fine form already this season and here, Goal.com takes a look at their influence in the top-flight fixtures over the last month

SPECIAL
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: Matches were called off on the opening weekend of the season due to a players' strike and those games have been rescheduled for 21 Jan 2012

LA LIGA: ROUND 1


vs

Villarreal
August 29, Camp Nou
RESULT Barcelona 5-0 Villarreal
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 91
Goals 2
Assists 1
Shots 5
Shots on goal 5
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

8.5
Top of the Match
'Scored two excellent goals and set up Cesc's goal with a superb pass. It was another outstanding performance, but it is only what we have come to expect from the brilliant Argentine.'


vs

Real Zaragoza
August 28, La Romareda

RESULT Zaragoza 0-6 Real Madrid
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 91
Goals 3
Assists 0
Shots 14
Shots on goal 9
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

8.5
Top of the Match
'It only took 24 minutes for the Portuguese to grab his first goal of the campaign as he showed his usual deadly finishing skills. He ended up with a well-deserved hat-trick to take his tally to an astonishing 14 goals in his last five La Liga appearances.'
TICS
LA LIGA: ROUND 2


vs

Real Sociedad
September 10, Anoeta
RESULT Real Sociedad 2-2 Barcelona
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 30
Goals 0
Assists 0
Shots 4
Shots on goal 2
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

5.0
'Booked for diving late on as he threw himself to the ground in search of a penalty. Looked dangerous with a couple of trademark runs, but left his shooting boots at home.'


vs

Getafe
September 10, Santiago Bernabeu

RESULT Real Madrid 4-2 Getafe
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 94
Goals 1
Assists 1
Shots 8
Shots on goal 4
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

7.0
'A decent performance in which he scored and set up a goal. However, by his exceptionally high standards it was a relatively quiet match, particularly in the first half. His assist for Benzema's goal was truly world-class and showed he is effective as a provider as well as a scorer.'

LA LIGA: ROUND 3


vs

Osasuna
September 18, Camp Nou




RESULT Barcelona 8-0 Osasuna
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 91
Goals 3
Assists 2
Shots 8
Shots on goal 6
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

9.0
Top of the Match
'Had tremendous fun in the 90 minutes and is unstoppable when in this mood. Grabbed himself a hat-trick but it could have been two as he caused so many problems for Osasuna. Was a nightmare for the opposition and displayed every aspect of his genius. Incredible dribbling, incisive passing and expert finishing. Wonderful.'


vs

Levante
September 18, Ciutat de Valencia


RESULT Levante 1-0 Real Madrid
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 49
Goals 0
Assists 0
Shots 5
Shots on goal 1
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

6.5
'Was brought on for Benzema at the break to inject a creative spark to his lumbering side but never really delivered the required impact. Wasted a couple of free-kick opportunities but nearly played in Di Maria late on and was left frustrated to see nobody get on the end of a dangerous cross as the seconds ticked down.'

LA LIGA: ROUND 4


vs

Valencia
September 21, Mestalla
RESULT Valencia 2-2 Barcelona
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 94
Goals 0
Assists 2
Shots 2
Shots on goal 1
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

7.5
'Two lovely assists and although he was fairly well marshalled throughout the first half by the Valencia defenders, his class still shone and upped his game in the second half. Acted as the catalyst to get Barcelona back into the match.'


vs

Racing Santander
September 21, El Sardinero
RESULT Racing 0-0 Real Madrid
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 96
Goals 0
Assists 0
Shots 5
Shots on target 0
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

5.5
'An off-colour performance from the Portugal international who despite his best efforts, struggled to create clear-cut chances for his team. Did not look 100 per cent match-fit.'

LA LIGA: ROUND 5


vs

Atletico Madrid
September 24, Camp Nou
RESULT Barcelona 5-0 Atletico
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 91
Goals 3
Assists 0
Shots 7
Shots on goal 5
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

9.0
Top of the Match
'Another fantastic performance from the world's best player. He took all three of his goals beautifully and was a constant threat for the Catalans. Can anyone stop this man when he's in full flight?'


vs

Rayo Vallecano
September 24, Santiago Bernabeu
RESULT Real Madrid 6-2 Rayo
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 91
Goals 3
Assists 0
Shots 6
Shots on goal 3
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

8.0
Top of the Match
'Scored a hat-trick, including two penalty kicks. The attacker took a little while to get going, but when he did, he was dynamic with the ball, infiltrating the box at will and initiating attacks from the middle of the pitch.'

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER STATISTICS

         

400 MINUTES PLAYED
424
8 GOALS
7
0 PENALTIES
3
5 ASSISTS 1
26 (19)
TOTAL SHOTS (ON GOAL)
38 (17)
323 (265)
PASSES (COMPLETED) 187 (138)
7 FOULS SUFFERED 15
7.80 GOAL.COM
AVERAGE RATING
7.10
12
2011-12 COMPETITIVE GOALS  8
http://i1.goal.com/files/images/stats/goal/team-logos/1/451_48x48.jpg

EXPERT ANALYSIS
Ben Hayward | Goal.com INTL Spain Football Editor

Messi was sensational as Barcelona began the season with a 5-0 win at home to Villarreal, scoring two and setting up Cesc Fabregas for another with a delightful through ball. The Argentine then came on as a substitute as Barca were surprisingly pegged back at Real Sociedad, and they surely would have won the game had he been on from the start.

Booked for diving in the area late in that match as he failed to inspire a win, Messi was back on form in the 8-0 drubbing of Osasuna, scoring a hat-trick and creating two more.

Valencia went some way to restricting his influence in the next fixture, but the Argentine still set up both of his side's goals before netting another fantastic hat-trick in the 5-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Saturday. Eight goals and five assists already. Simply breathtaking.
Ronaldo got off to an even better start than Messi as he scored three in Real Madrid's 6-0 win at Zaragoza on the opening weekend.

A more subdued performance followed as Madrid struggled to overcome city rivals Getafe. The Portuguese scored from the spot to make it 2-1 and later provided a simply wonderful assist for Karim Benzema. Cristiano replaced the Frenchman at half-time in the next league game, a 1-0 defeat at Levante, but was well short of his best as he continued to feel the effects of an ankle injury picked up in the Champions League four days earlier.

Ronaldo remained off-colour and short of fitness as Real drew 0-0 at Racing Santander but returned to form with another hat-trick against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday. When he is at his best, so are Real Madrid.

Poll of the day

Who was the better performer for August/September?

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