Warring La Liga stars enhanced for El Clasico opening goal

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Goalless draws are simply not an option when the biggest match in La Liga takes centre stage, especially not when so much attacking talent is on display.

You have to go back to November 2002, some 37 battles ago, to find the last time Barcelona and Real Madrid played out a snoozefest.

With Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Neymar and Luis Suarez all sharing the pitch there is a certain inevitability about the fact that the second El Clasico of the season will contain goals, and that’s not even factoring in the impact of the best two players on the planet.

Between them, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored 62 league goals this season. That is more than every other team in the division. Valencia, with 52, are the closest challengers to the pair.

With two men in such fine form and their sides separated by just one point in the title race, this encounter at the Nou Camp is sure to catch the world’s imagination.

For Ladbrokes customers, deciding which of the duo will grab the game’s first goal is like picking between a bacon and sausage sandwich on Sunday morning.

The bookie hasn’t exactly helped matters, by boosting the price of both men to bag the opener. Messi’s odds are out from 7/2 to 9/2, while Ronaldo’s are stretched from 5/1 to 7s.

Indeed, as part of the away team, the Portuguese sensation seems less likely to net first. However, he has grabbed more deadlock-breakers than his arch Argentine rival; scoring eight first goals compared to Messi’s six.

That suggests the value lies with backing the former Manchester United flyer to pip Messi to first-goal post, with the fact that Ronaldo has scored an equal number of goals on the road this term as he has at home only helping his cause further.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.