Price Boost: Real Madrid star can start Atletico rescue mission

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Fresh from being crowned the greatest footballer on the planet for the second year running, Cristiano Ronaldo can settle comfortably into launching his campaign for a third straight Ballon d’Or award when his Real Madrid side host their city rivals at Atletico.

It’s likely that Los Blancos will need their Portuguese superstar to come to the fore in the Copa del Rey round-of-16 second leg against Diego Simeone’s side, after Los Colchoneros capitalised on Carlo Ancelotti’s decision to start with Ronaldo on the bench in the first encounter to win 2-0.

The Italian tactician isn’t likely to make that mistake at the Bernabeu as he looks to defend the trophy he won at Atletico’s expense last season.

That means Ronaldo will be in from the start on Thursday night, making Ladbrokes’ decision to boost the former Manchester United flyer’s price to score the first goal, from 3/1 to 4s, one that should be swarmed on by the bookies’ customers.

The 29-year-old has a phenomenal 35 goals to his name for club and country this term, needing just 30 games to bag them in.

Of his current haul, 26 have come in La Liga and six have broken a game’s deadlock, while three of his five in the Champions League have set the scoreboard rolling.

His substitute’s appearance in the Madrid derby last week was his first outing in the Copa del Rey, but his first-goal record suggests he won’t take long to open his account in the competition either.

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.