Real Madrid vs Barcelona: how their new superstar forward lines match up, with James Rodriguez and Luis Suarez on board

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The arrival of James Rodriguez at Real Madrid day means the European champions can boast a front three that is unparalleled at nearly every other club in the world.

Arguably, the only combination which comes close to the Cristiano Ronaldo-Gareth Bale-Rodriguez attacking force is the one put together by their bitter rivals Barcelona, who have added Luis Suarez this summer alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Here, we assess the credentials of both forward lines.

COST

Barcelona: Luis Suarez (£75million), Neymar (£50million), Messi (nothing) TOTAL: £125million

Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo (£80million), Gareth Bale (£86million), James Rodriguez (£63million) TOTAL: £229million

The obvious disadvantage in this is that Barcelona did not buy Messi, so his true worth on the transfer market is unknown. Given his status, though, it would be a fair to assume that he would be the first footballer in history to break the £100million barrier.

VERDICT: Even assuming Messi would sell for a nine-figure sum, Real Madrid would still just edge it.

HONOURS

Barcelona: Luis Suarez - Three major honours (One Dutch league title, one Dutch Cup, one League Cup); Lionel Messi - 14 major honours (Six Spanish league titles, two Copa del Reys, three Champions Leagues, two Super Cups, one Club World Cup); Neymar- Two major honours (One Copa do Brasil, one Copa Libertadores) TOTAL: 19 major honours

Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo - 12 major honours (Three Premier Leagues, one FA Cup, two League Cups, two Champions Leagues, 1 Spanish league title, two Copa del Reys, one Club World Cup); Gareth Bale - Two major honours (One Copa del Rey, one Champions League); James Rodriguez - Five major honours (Three Portugese league titles, one Taca de Portugal, one Europa League) TOTAL: 19 major honours

VERDICT: Remarkably, the two sets of players have won the same amount of major trophies. With both respectively spearheaded by Messi (14) and Ronaldo (12) and the relative youth of Neymar, Bale and Rodriguez, you can expect that number to grow and grow.

Messi Neymar
Neymar and Messi will team up with Luis Suarez. Credit: PA

GOALS SCORED (from last three seasons) Barcelona: Luis Suarez - 78 goals (in 120 games) - Strike rate of 0.65 goals per game; Lionel Messi -162 goals (in 138 games) - 1.17 goals a game; Neymar - 93 goals (in 154 games) - 0.60 goals per game TOTAL: 337 goals between them in the last three seasons. Average strike rate of 0.85 goals a game.

Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo - 156 goals (in 148 games) - 1.05 goals a game; James Rodriguez - 34 goals (in 100 games) - 0.34 goals a game; Gareth Bale - 60 goals (in 126 games) - 0.48 goals a game TOTAL: 250 goals between them in the past three seasons- 0.67 average a game

VERDICT: Barcelona comfortably. The goals scored was always going to be lop-sided in Barcelona's favour, with the superior striking power of Suarez and Neymar providing more goals than the more creative role Rodriguez favours, despite his World Cup burst that saw him take the Golden Boot. With Bale's goals increasing every season, though, do not be surprised if Madrid's strikers start outscoring their Catalan counterparts in a couple of seasons.

ASSISTS (from last season) Barcelona - Luis Suarez 12, Lionel Messi 11, Neymar 8 TOTAL: 31

Real Madrid - Cristiano Ronaldo 9, Gareth Bale 12, James Rodriguez 12 TOTAL: 33 assists

VERDICT: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti will hope the addition of Rodriguez to his illustrious attacking force will create more space for the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to profit from. That Madrid just had more assists from their front three compared to Barca's may be the crucial difference between the sides.