In equalling Raul’s all-time Champions League goals record at only 27, Lionel Messi sent out a well-timed message to Ballon d’Or rival Cristiano Ronaldo that he’s not prepared to be kept off his perch on a permanent basis.
Messi is back (not that he was ever really gone) but for a while there it seemed as if the wee messiah had faded underneath the long-reaching shadow of CR7.
According to the betting for FIFA’s most prestigious individual award at least, Messi still has little chance of recapturing it in 2014, with the Argentine at 7/1 behind heavy 1/8 fave Ronaldo.
However, when everyone had been expecting Ronaldo to waltz past Raul’s record of 71 goals in Europe’s top club competition against a vulnerable-looking Liverpool side earlier in the week, he appeared to choke.
But playing a day later for Barcelona, Messi grabbed both goals in a 2-0 away win at Ajax and with the Catalans playing APOEL Nicosia next, a day before Real take on Basel, it looks as if the former will now break Raul’s record first.
After four years of dominating his Real Madrid counterpart in FIFA’s Ballon d’Or stakes, an injury-hit 2013/14 campaign helped bring about a massive pendulum swing towards Ronaldo as the perceived best player on Terra Firma.
Of course, the former Manchester United man fully-deserved his second such accolade, having made a mockery of various scoring records on his way to an incredible 17 goals in Europe alone.
For fans of the World Cup Golden ball winner though it will be particularly pleasing to see Messi break back into the spotlight especially if he can wrestle Raul’s record away first.
While for Barcelona fans, they’ll be starting to wonder whether their little genius, who has now reached 11 in all competitions, can fire them to European glory again this season at 9/2.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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