Cristiano and Messi are back

Barcelona - Manchester City live

The ongoing Cristiano-Messi race

Cristiano has 98 goals in European competitions, which is broken down into 95 in the Champions League, one in a prelimenary round (with United) and two in the European Super Cup (against Sevilla in Cardiff). So he is two from a hundred, and five from the same total in just the Champions League. It is reasonable to expect that the two goals are likely as they are close. For his part, Messi is sitting on 89, with 86 of them coming in the Champions League and three in the European Super Cup. Messi, the younger of the two, has reached his total in 111 games, giving him a better average. Cristiano has played 136. Both of them have been in a race since they were very young and none of us know when they'll stop nor with how many goals.

Top two back on-form

The best thing is that I see them both reborn after rather lean spells. For Cristiano it was one created from the injury in the final of the European Championships that left him without a pre-season. He was late back to join up with the Madrid squad and hadn't fully healed. Gradually, he has refound his vigour. His goals have returned quickly, with Portugal (five in just a few days, although against lesser rivals) and then fresh and reinvigorated against Betis, close to his most fearsome self, starting out from the left and driving in forcefully. As for Messi, his time out has eased his pains and his reappearance has seen him in dazzling form, scoring early and back directing the team.

Players to be enjoyed

In the race for the Ballon D'Or once again (they have shared the last seven), for me they are a gift of this time and add a special shine to the Champions League. I suffered in the early part of the season watching them play poorly. Now, back to somewhere near their peak, they are again able to treat us to their best. Messi has long since changed his game, aiming for less wear and tear and more for the longer term, while not losing his influence on the game. Cristiano is doubtful whether or not to economise his runs, meanwhile reintroducing his skilful tricks that were discarded some time ago. In both cases, their pains are behind them. Let's sit back and enjoy.