Messi/Barcelona only worthwhile top scorer/winner double
Argentine's superiority means only injury can prevent him topping the scoring charts
Lionel Messi to celebrate winning the Champions League top scorer award alongside Barcelona lifting the trophy at Wembley is priced at 7/2.
These short odds are testament to the brilliance of the Argentine who has been the top scorer in this tournament four seasons running.
With eight goals in six games this season – one of which he started on the bench – Messi has shown no signs of taking his foot off the gas and it’s difficult to see who’s going to outscore him.
There’ll be opportunities for him to fill his boots against the Celtic and Spartak Moscow defences, as well as when Benfica visit the Nou Camp. He could be out of sight by the time the group stage has finished.
With Messi nailed on for top scorer, Barca’s inability to win the trophy will be the only thing preventing this double coming in. Tito Villanova’s inexperience could be the factor that hands the trophy to arch rivals Real Madrid, but if Messi is still in the competition at the semi-final stage he will top the scoring charts, no doubt.
This detracts value from the Cristiano Ronaldo/Real Madrid double at 12/1.
Real could well win it but, as prolific as Ronaldo is, he won’t be able to match up to Messi in the goalscoring stakes, unless the latter suffers an injury that keeps him out of the majority of the tournament.
The Portuguese’s eight strikes in 2007/08 saw him be crowned top scorer as Man United lifted club football’s richest prize, but this was before Messi really started raising the bar.
There is also the mystery unhappiness that is said to be plaguing Ronaldo. It has hampered his performance levels so far this term and, unless he gets it together, he’s going to struggle to finish his usual second to Messi in the race to be top scorer.
The best English bet in this market is the mammoth 50/1 – making him joint-third favourite – for Robin van Persie to score the most goals and Man United to win the cup.
Again, a stroke of bad fortune would have to befoul Messi for this to happen but with the Red Devils’ easy group, the Dutchman has a great opportunity to rack up the goals. However, he could find himself rested regularly given the substandard competition in Group H and his notorious injury record.
This market is far from wide open given the unparalleled class of Barcelona’s talisman and, at 7/2, the price for his and his club’s twinned success is the only bet to back with a realistic chance of payout.
All odds and markets correct as of publication