Harry Kane’s desire to be the best player in the world has pushed him on to even greater heights during 2017, but can he realistically expect to challenge the dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?
A quick look at the overall statistics suggest Kane has some way to go, but the English striker has definitely closed the gap this year.
Since Ronaldo joined Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009, he has scored 285 goals in 267 La Liga matches, while Messi has 304 goals in 279 games for Barcelona.
Factor in their Champions League records – Ronaldo 107 in 141 games, Messi 96 in 116 – and the pair have certainly been productive.
His league tally is all the more impressive when you consider Ronaldo scored 84 goals in 196 games for Manchester United between the ages of 18 to 24.
However, it’s Kane’s record during 2017 which currently puts him on a par with the big two. The 24-year-old has scored 25 league goals in 23 games against Messi’s 34 in 27 and Ronaldo’s 15 in 20.
The debate over the relative strength of La Liga and the Premier League is a factor, with Spanish sides having held the upper hand in European competitions in recent times.
The fact Kane has been matching Messi and Ronaldo while playing in England is noteworthy, as Messi and Ronaldo enjoy far more “free hits” in games against lesser sides than Kane gets with Tottenham.
When you also consider that there are far more teams capable of challenging for the Premier League title than the Spanish equivalent, Kane’s achievements take on even greater significance.
Kane needs to continue his current output over the next few seasons before he can be placed in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo, but based on what we’ve seen this year he’s certainly on the right track.