thumbnail Hello,

The two megastars remain neck and neck in the goalscoring charts, but who was better overall throughout March? 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 25


vs

SPORTING GIJON
March 3
Camp Nou

RESULT Barcelona 3-1 Sporting Gijon
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played  -
Goals  -
Assists  -
Shots
 -
Shots on goal  -
Passes  -
Passes completed
  -
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

N/A

Messi was suspended for this match after reaching his yellow card limit.




vs
Espanyol
ESPANYOL
March 4
Santiago Bernabeu



RESULT Real Madrid 5-0 Espanyol
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 93
Goals 1
Assists 0
Shots
9
Shots on goal 3
Passes 42
Passes completed
31
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

7.0
'Put Madrid ahead with a fine finish as he slid a slow shot into the corner from an awkward standing position and played a part in the second as well. Set up Higuain for a wonderful chance which the Argentine should have buried and missed a good chance himself late on. Participative and constantly dangerous, he now has 30 Liga goals.'
TICS
LA LIGA: ROUND 26




vs

RACING SANTANDER
March 11
El Sardinero



RESULT Racing 0-2 Barcelona
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 94
Goals 2
Assists 0
Shots
9
Shots on goal 4
Passes 73
Passes completed 57
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

8.0
Top of the Match
'Not his best performance but two more goals and it's now 50 this season, capping a sensational seven days in which he also scored five against Leverkusen. Linked up well with Cesc in particular and came close with a free kick. Was also denied by Mario in the first half and saw a late effort blocked by Alvaro.'




vs
Betis
REAL BETIS
March 10
Benito Villamarin



RESULT Real Betis 2-3 Real Madrid
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 93
Goals 2
Assists 0
Shots
10
Shots on goal 6
Passes 27
Passes completed 19
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

8.0
Top of the Match
'Should have scored just before half-time but his touch let him down when through on goal and was relatively anonymous in the first period. However, he came back from this in true Ronaldo style and won the game for his side with a neat finish and a volley to earn himself a decisive double in what could be a huge win.'

LA LIGA: ROUND 27



vs
Sevilla
SEVILLA
March 17
Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan



RESULT Sevilla 0-2 Barcelona
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 94
Goals 1
Assists 0
Shots
3
Shots on goal 1
Passes 59
Passes completed 53
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

7.5
'Scored his 150th La Liga strike with a truly magical goal in the first half. Left Spahic for dead with a cheeky nutmeg on the edge of the box before majestically chipping the ball over Palop into the top corner. His touch was typically assured and left Sevilla attempting to foul him simply to stop him.'





vs
Malaga
MALAGA
March 18
Santiago Bernabeu




RESULT Real Madrid 1-1 Malaga
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 94
Goals 0
Assists 1
Shots
3
Shots on goal 2
Passes 43
Passes completed 34
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

6.5
'Saw his lobbed effort blocked early on. Appealed for a penalty after he went down under pressure from Camacho, but it was nothing. Played a great one-two with Benzema after that, but the Frenchman shot wide. Linked up well with the striker and his cross for the first goal was glorious, but should then have made it 2-0 in the second half, although his curler was brilliantly saved by Caballero.'

LA LIGA: ROUND 28






vs
Granada
GRANADA
March 20
Camp Nou





RESULT Barcelona 5-3 Granada
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 93
Goals 3
Assists 1
Shots
6
Shots on goal 5
Passes 76
Passes completed 63
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

9.0
Top of the Match
'There was only going to be one winner of top honours here, after a performance that saw him bag yet another treble and become the Blaugrana’s all-time leading goalscorer. Three exquisite finishes aligned to a great playmaking display snuffed out the Granada comeback and gave his side a crucial three points in their outside hopes for a fourth successive title. The night, and the record books, belong to him. 234 goals, and many more are sure to come.'


vs
Villarreal
VILLARREAL
March 21
El Madrigal


RESULT Villarreal 1-1 Real Madrid
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 95
Goals 1
Assists 0
Shots
10
Shots on goal 3
Passes 43
Passes completed 35
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

7.5
'Stung Diego Lopez's palms with a low free-kick from an acute angle in the 33rd minute, later sparking to life to score a magnificent opening goal and underlined his explosive style. A constant threat.'

LA LIGA: ROUND 29




vs
Mallorca
MALLORCA
March 24
Iberostar Estadi



RESULT Mallorca 0-2 Barcelona
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 95
Goals 1
Assists 0
Shots
9
Shots on goal 2
Passes 68
Passes completed 51
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

7.5
Top of the Match
'The Argentine looked below his best early on but tested Dudu with a shot the goalkeeper saved with his face. Then gave Barca the lead with a curling free kick which Alexis looked to have touched, while his shot against the post set up Pique for the second of the evening.'



vs

REAL SOCIEDAD
March 24
Santiago Bernabeu




RESULT Real Madrid 5-1 Real Sociedad
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 82
Goals 2
Assists 0
Shots
7
Shots on goal 3
Passes 38
Passes completed 27
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

8.0
'Netted his 100th and 101st league goals for Real Madrid this evening and looked at his best as he terrorised Sociedad. Scored his first goal with expert composure with a lovely finish into the bottom corner and grabbed his second with a typically determined run into the box to finish from close range.'

LA LIGA: ROUND 30



vs

ATHLETIC BILBAO
March 31
Camp Nou



RESULT Barcelona 2-0 Athletic
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 91
Goals 1
Assists 1
Shots
6
Shots on goal 4
Passes 70
Passes completed 54
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

7.0
'Knew he was in a match tonight. Had an interesting battle with Javi Martinez in which both got the better of each other on different occasions. Still managed to go on a number of probing runs through the middle which saw Athletic on the ropes. Scored a cool penalty to seal the win for his side.'



vs

OSASUNA
March 31
Reyno de Navarra



RESULT Osasuna 1-5 Real Madrid
INDIVIDUAL MATCH STATS
Minutes played 92
Goals 2
Assists 2
Shots
4
Shots on goal 3
Passes 35
Passes completed 27
 GOAL.COM PLAYER RATING

9.0
Top of the Match
'Grabbed two brilliant assists with his left foot as he set up Benzema and Higuain, but also scored two of his own, one with a stunning 40-yard drive and another with a deflected free kick. He also came close on a couple more occasions. Near his brilliant best.'

MARCH STATISTICS

         

467 MINUTES PLAYED
549
8 GOALS
8
2 PENALTIES
0
2 ASSISTS 3
33 / 16 (48.5%)
TOTAL SHOTS / ON GOAL
43 / 20 (46.5%)
346 / 278 (80.3%)
PASSES / COMPLETED 229 / 173 (75.5%)
7.8 GOAL.COM
AVERAGE RATING
7.6
36 2011-12 LA LIGA GOALS 37
56 (48)
2011-12 COMPETITIVE GOALS (APPEARANCES)
47 (44)
http://i1.goal.com/files/images/stats/goal/team-logos/1/451_48x48.jpg

EXPERT ANALYSIS
Martín del Palacio Langer | Goal.com Spain Chief Editor

March was a month to remember for both Messi and Ronaldo as they delivered landmark performances in their fight for the Pichichi, the European Golden Shoe and the Ballon d'Or. For the Argentine, the reward was even greater as he managed to become the most prolific player in the history of Barcelona, surpassing Blaugrana legend Cesar Rodriguez during a hat-trick display against Granada.

Oddly, Messi started the month in the stands as he was suspended for the match against Sporting. He seemed extremely ill-at-ease watching from above as his team struggled to beat the Asturians thanks to two late goals by Seydou Keita and Xavi. As for Ronaldo, he only scored once in the 5-0 rout over Espanyol, but was ever-present on the pitch.

After his stellar five-goal performance against Leverkusen in the Champions League, Leo didn't look back. He scored twice against Racing in Santander to offer Barca a 2-0 victory and one week later added another exceptional strike in a win at Sevilla by the same scoreline.

Ronaldo was himself fantastic against Betis, scoring a brace, the second with a beautiful volley to cap a difficult and controversial 3-2 victory. One week later, however, the Portuguese was quite subdued against Malaga, although he did manage to assist Benzema for Madrid's only goal in a 1-1 draw.

He was a little better against Villarreal, scoring one fine goal and looking sharp, but the team stumbled to another draw and let Barcelona close the gap at the top of La Liga to six points after a historic night for Messi, in which he scored a hat-trick and broke the Barca top-scorer record during a crazy and magnificent game against Granada, which ended 5-3. The next weekend Messi added another goal to his tally, but the day was won by Cristiano, who returned to scintillating form against a disappointing Real Sociedad side, scoring his 100th league goal in the process.

The weekend fixtures brought similar results, with Messi scoring a penalty in a low-key win against Athletic and Ronaldo netting a double and assisting another two in Madrid's outstanding performance at Osasuna. When either of the pair scores just once in a game, it almost seems "disappointing" - and that speaks volumes of the fantastic football both are playing this season.


Who was better in March? 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 April 6, 2012.

Poll of the day

Who was the better performer in March?

Related

From the web