Cristiano Ronaldo vs Harry Kane showdown is the pick of the Matchday 3 Champions League action
Football connoisseurs are in for a treat this week with some mouth-watering clashes that include two of England’s elite clubs pitting their wits against Italian opposition but it is the match-up at the Bernabeu that really catches the eye.
Reigning champions’ Real Madrid host Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur side on Tuesday and it’s quite rightly being billed as a Cristiano Ronaldo versus Harry Kane showdown due to the sensational form both players have show throughout the calendar year.
Stats from fantasy football game Oulala indicate that there is very little to choose between the pair, making it very difficult to call the winner.
2016 Ballon D’Or winner Ronaldo hasn’t rested on his laurels. Not only did he help Real Madrid to secure yet another Champions League trophy but he also helped Portugal to book their place in next summer’s World Cup finals.
Kane has enjoyed success with club and country as well. He retained his Premier League Golden Boot with a devastating run of form at the tail end of the campaign and was also instrumental in helping to guide England to Russia, scoring some vital goals and even being given the honour of captaining the side in the latest qualifying games.
However, while it is difficult to say which player has had the better year, there is one key area in which Kane is excelling – his underlying stats.
Expected goals (xG) is a barometer used to measure how many goals should be scored from specific match scenarios which takes into numerous factors such as defenders blocking the path to goal, position on the pitch, distance from goal and every single scoring chance is assigned its own unique value.
During the 2016/17 Premier League season, Kane scored 29 times but his xG was 19.82, meaning that he found the net over 9 times more than he was expected to. This suggests that he is extremely clinical in front of goal and that he has that unerring knack of being able to squeeze the ball home.
In fact, data from Understat reveals that only one player from Europe’s top 5 leagues out-performed Kane last season in this respect, by scoring more goals than his xG figure – the one and only Lionel Messi.
Kane’s stock may be on the rise but will he get the better of the phenomenal Ronaldo in Madrid?