Barcelona v Real Madrid
La Liga - Sunday, May 6, 7.45pm BST
Real Madrid’s hopes of securing another La Liga title may be gone for this season, but Los Blancos do have plenty to fight for when they travel to Camp Nou for this weekend’s El Classico.
Barcelona are aiming to become the first team in the history of La Liga to go a whole league season unbeaten. This would represent an epic achievement for this group of players, who secured the club’s 25th title with a 4-2 win over Deportivo last weekend.
The always brilliant Lionel Messi scored his 46th career hattrick in that game, which is an outstanding feat.
Of course, there will be one player on the pitch who has outdone even that ridiculous statistic - Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 50 hat-tricks in his career. The 33-year-old helped his side reach their third successive Champions League final earlier this week.
Of course, Los Blancos’ domestic form hasn’t been on the same level as their European form this year. They have dropped points against the likes of Bilbao, Girona and Levante – all teams you would expect Madrid to defeat.
In truth, the title race has been over for some time now. That’s not to say that Zidane and his team won’t be intent on disrupting Barca’s attempt to create history.
However, we wouldn’t hold our breath. Barcelona have not suffered a defeat in La Liga since Malaga tasted victory against them on April 8th, 2017. Furthermore, Real Madrid haven’t had a La Liga success against Barcelona since April 2nd, 2016.
When you combine those statistics with the fact that Madrid may have one eye on the Champions League final, it is hard to be too optimistic about the away side’s chances.
With the title already wrapped up, there will be many observers keeping an eye on the side plot between Ronaldo and Messi. The pair usually bring the best out of each other in these sorts of match-ups and there is little doubt that the Portuguese man loves entering enemy territory.
In fact, Ronaldo’s last five goals in La Liga El Classicos have come in the Camp Nou. Meanwhile, Messi looks on course to claim the fourth La Liga top scorer award of his career as he is currently on 32 goals, which is eight ahead of his nearest rival – Ronaldo.
As per usual, any success that Barcelona’s opponents do have will depend on their ability to quell the little Argentinian’s influence on the game. We are not saying that Barcelona are a one-man team, but Messi has either scored or assisted 44 of Barcelona's 87 goals during the league season.
Thus, if Madrid can keep him under wraps, then they have an excellent chance of stopping their closest rivals from making history. Of course, many have tried to quieten Messi, but that is far easier said than it is done – particularly when he is in this sort of blistering form.
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Correct Score: FC Barcelona to win in front of Real Madrid with 3-1 @ odds of 13.00
1st Half Correct Score: FC Barcelona to draw with Real Madrid at Half Time, score 1-1 @ odds of 5.90
Goalscorer: Lionel Messi to score anytime @ odds of 1.44