Aston Villa's Christian Benteke better than Lionel Messi... don't be ridiculous?
Now obviously Christian Benteke is not better than Lionel Messi, and no disrespect to the Belgian but he is not going to be either - There is no shame in that.
But there is one goalscoring field where the Villa striker is better than Messi in during the 2012/13 season.
While Messi scored in a spectacular 19th game in a row in La Liga at the weekend, it is the timing of his goals which fall behind Villa's prized asset.
Statistics from around Europe show that Lionel Messi has only scored the opening goal in matches this season on six occasions.
Christian Benteke on the other hand has done so seven times, one more than the four-time Ballon d'Or winner.
Benteke also outranks Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain and Edinson Cavani at breaking the deadlock - and is level with Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie, Roberto Soldado and Zlatan.
There is one player who tops them all, Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling, who has scored eight opening goals.
Villa fans won't be complaining if Benteke bags a few more to rise to the top of this list, even though at present such individual accolades matter little compared to their relegation-threatened league position.
Perhaps the relevance is that his presence in such esteemed company of Europe's top strikers simply shows why some of the Premier League's top clubs are interested in signing him in the summer, and just why Villa need to stay up to hold onto him.
image: © little-pete