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It was business as usual on Tuesday night. In the 56th minute of Juventus' match against Genoa, Cristiano Ronaldo took possession five yards inside the opposition half, powered forward and from 25 yards struck a ferocious shot into the right corner of the net.
Six minutes earlier, Lionel Messi had placed the ball on the penalty spot in Barcelona's crucial meeting with Atletico Madrid, taken a few steps and drifted the gentlest of chips into the left corner as 'keeper Jan Oblak dived to the right.
The stadiums may have been empty in the strangest season soccer has ever seen but the Age of Messi and Ronaldo carried on regardless. Messi's penalty brought his career total to 700 goals, a landmark attained by Ronaldo back in October and by only five other players in the history of the game.
Familiarity shouldn't blind us to the extraordinary nature of what both players have achieved. Before the arrival of this double act it seemed impossible that we'd ever again witness the likes of Pele's 66 goals in 46 games for Santos in the 1957-'58 season, Gerd Muller's 66 in 49 for Bayern Munich in 1972-'73 or Eusebio's 50 from 35 for Benfica in 1967-'68.
These were products of a bygone age when defences were less packed, attackers less isolated and goals much more numerous. Our expectations of the modern striker were more modest. The undeniably great Marco van Basten's best Serie A haul was 33 from 47 for AC Milan in 1988-'89.
His fellow World Player of the Year Roberto Baggio's best season was 1992-'93 when he scored 30 goals in 43 games for Juventus. In the following decade the serially prolific Thierry Henry's high-scoring season was 2003-2004 when he hit 39 goals in 51 games for Arsenal.
These seemed like great seasons at the time and Ronaldo's (the Brazilian one) 47 goals from 49 games for Barca in 1996-'97 an utterly phenomenal achievement.
Yet even that pales next to what Messi and Ronaldo produced at their best.
In 2010-'11, the Argentinian brought elite-level goalscoring into territory not witnessed for decades when he scored 53 goals in 55 games for Barcelona. And he was only warming up. In 2011-'12, it was 73 goals from 60 games and 60 the season after that. He went on to top the half-century mark three more times and break 40 goals ten seasons in a row.
Ronaldo's first time to surpass the half-century barrier was also in 2010-'11. His 53 goals were achieved in one less game than Messi. He then scored more than 50 for the next five seasons in a row, hitting 60 from 55 games in 2011-'12 and 61 from 52 in 2014-'15.
Nobody had expected to ever witness this kind of thing again. And no-one else has scored at anything like the same rate. In the last decade only one other player has scored more than 40 goals for a La Liga club, Luis Suarez who bagged 59 goals in 2015-'16. That was a magnificent achievement on the Uruguayan's part but he hasn't topped 40 since.
Of the Premier League's best strikers, Sergio Aguero's best return is 33 goals from 45 games in 2016-'17 and Harry Kane's 41 from 48 the season after that. Yet Kane fell back to 24 goals last term. He could not maintain that level of performance any more than Mohamed Salah could after being hailed as the peer of Messi and Ronaldo when hitting the target 44 times in 2017/'18. Last season Salah scored 27 and is on 21 this season.
Salah and Kane's drop-off contrasts with perhaps the most impressive aspect of Messi and Ronaldo's achievement: the sheer amount of time they've spent at the top. At 33, Messi is finally showing signs of slowing down and will probably finish the season with his lowest total in a decade. Yet he still leads the La Liga scoring charts and is four clear of second-placed Karim Benzema.
Ronaldo's move from Real Madrid to Juventus at the beginning of last season was a tacit admission that he was not quite the force of old. Yet at 34 he was good enough to win Player of the Season in Serie A and this year he is second highest scorer. There is no sign of him going gentle into that good night.
This type of longevity is almost unique. As far back as 2007 Messi and Ronaldo finished second and third respectively to Kaka in the World Player of the Year awards. The former won his first award the following year, the latter in the year after that. Last year Messi was first and Ronaldo third, with Virgil van Dijk between them.
Who else has lasted this long at the top? Kaka's time at the top was fleeting, Ronaldinho had four great seasons at Barcelona and faded quickly afterwards, the first Ronaldo enjoyed a remarkable renaissance after injury but his very best form amounted to half a dozen seasons spread over a decade, Zinedine Zidane was there or thereabouts for the guts of a decade but did not dominate in the same way as Messi and Ronaldo.
The only ones who really compare with the 21st century's dynamic duo are Pele, good enough to be the second best player of the 1958 World Cup and the best in 1970 and world number one for most of the '60s, and Diego Maradona, who occupied a similar position during the 1980s.
They're also the only players who can be compared to Messi and Ronaldo in terms of their ability to redefine the limits of what is possible in football. This quartet didn't so much possess the Wow Factor as turn their careers into one prolonged Wow.
Where Gerd Muller was a great goalscorer and George Best a scorer of great goals, Messi and Ronaldo have been both. Immense quantity has been married with extraordinary quality so that impressive though the stats are, the duo will be remembered most of all for moments like those when Messi mesmerised Jerome Boateng into falling down before completing his slalom through the Bayern Munich defence with a perfect chip over the Manuel Neuer.
Or when Ronaldo put himself into orbit to produce the platonic ideal of an overhead kick against Juventus.
There has always been a bit of almost gratuitous flair in the play of both. Ronaldo may well have employed those trademark stepovers to create a small bit of extra space for himself but I also suspect that like every kid who's ever tried the move he loved how cool it looks. Messi's play also has the feel of the playground about it.
If the Argentinian, a little guy running rings round the big kids and shrugging off the bumps and bruises, was easier to love at first, his Portuguese counterpart has steadily worn his way into our affections. The sense of delight at his own brilliance, which once looked vain and self-serving, now seems rooted in a kind of unaware innocence.
Both exude the sense of joy which makes people fall in love with football in the first place. Sometimes, with all the big money, the hype, the dubious associations, the cheating and the blinkered partisanship, you can find yourself wondering if the game is worth the love we lavish on it. But Messi and Ronaldo alone constitute a justification of the whole enterprise.
Above all, they are a rebuke to the puritanical worldview which seeks to recruit football to the grim cause of utilitarianism. The truth is that no kid ever started playing football in the hope of 'putting in a good shift' or 'doing a job for the team', they play because they're enraptured by the type of things Messi and Ronaldo can do and imagine they might do those things themselves.
We watch in the hope of witnessing the same kind of things. Or at least we should do. How doggedly dull do you have to be to watch football in the hope of witnessing inspirational levels of work-rate?
There are no real profound life lessons or moral guidelines to be found in a game. It is there to fuel our imagination and our dreams. Football should be the site of entertainment and fantasy and playfulness.
Playfulness is important. Nietzsche said that maturity is "to have regained the seriousness of a child at play." Freud reckoned that play is not less serious than reality but the creation of an alternative to it. And the great German writer Friedrich Schiller believed that "man is only completely a man when he plays."
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are not philosophers but more than anyone else on the planet they have persistently and persuasively reminded us of the joy to be had in surrendering to our playful side.
They are football's great gift to the modern world.
Sunday Indo Sport