Lionel Messi is 3 times more likely to lift the Champions League trophy this season than Cristiano Ronaldo

Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty ImagesLionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi is three times more likely to win the UEFA Champions League this season than Cristiano Ronaldo, according to the statistical analysis website

Messi played a crucial role in FC Barcelona’s 1-0 win at Manchester United on Wednesday, ensuring Barça has a clear advantage ahead of the second leg of the quarter-final at Camp Nou next week.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, scored the opening goal for Juventus in the Italian team’s trip to Ajax but was powerless as the Dutch team restored parity later, ending the game 1-1. Though Juve has an away goal in the two-legged quarter-final, its route to the semi-final, final, and the title itself is seen as more problematic than Barcelona’s.

Aside from an aggregate come-from-behind victory over Atletico Madrid, inspired almost entirely by Ronaldo, Juventus’ form in Europe has been mixed this season having lost to United in Turin, Italy; Young Boys in Bern, Switzerland; and Atletico in Madrid.

And data crunchers at Fivethirtyeight – which grades each team’s defensive and offensive capabilities while looking at round-by-round probabilities – says Juventus has a mere 9% chance of progressing all the way to the Champions League trophy on June 1 at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.

Read more: Lionel Messi left battered, bruised, and bleeding after over-zealous challenge from Manchester United defender Chris Smalling

This is far behind the 27% chance Barcelona has, with the Catalan team unbeaten throughout the European campaign so far. Barça even has big wins over PSV Eindhoven, Tottenham Hotspur, Internazionale, Olympique Lyonnais, and now United.

What this means is clear – Messi has a far greater shot at glory in 10 weeks’ time than his old rival Ronaldo.

Liverpool is the tournament favourite

But even Barcelona is not the favourite for the title as that honour belongs to Liverpool FC, the team with the best round-by-round probability of success according to Fivethirtyeight.

Jurgen Klopp’s team comfortably beat FC Porto in the first leg of its quarter-final on Tuesday even though it has, at times, come unstuck playing away from home in Europe this season.

Roberto Firmino, Liverpool Photo by Julian Finney/Getty ImagesLiverpool FC forward Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool has an impressive array of game-changers and match-winners in its roster, including Roberto Firmino who created one goal and scored the other in the team’s 2-0 win over Porto this week.

But it has already been defeated by Napoli, Red Star Belgrade, and Paris Saint-Germain on the road so far this season. It beat Bayern Munich in the Round of 16, and must hope to find that travel sickness cure once again when it takes on Porto in Portugal next week.

Regardless, Fivethirtyeight certainly sees Liverpool as the team to beat, with a 29% chance of going all the way this year and lifting the Champions League trophy come June.

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