Barcelona starting lineup
Real Madrid starting lineup
91 mins: Ronaldo tangles with Dani Alves. The Madrid player flicks a leg out and goes in the book… and that’s the end of the match.
90 mins: Carvajal fouls Neymar, slightly, maybe, a bit. Neymar tries to get him booked. What a toe-rag. Messi crowns a night to forget with a freekick into row Z.
89 mins: Impossible to see a way back now. Madrid playing the ball around at the back.
87 mins: Modric is now taken off, Arbeloa comes on. Madrid clear a corner with some ease and break again. Once again, the break flounders on a sloppy pass – Marcelo the cuplrit this time. Had Madrid been more ruthless, this could have been a battering.
86 mins: Alves still putting in a shift down that right but he’s just hitting a series of crosses vaguely into the box.
84 mins: Benzema’s evening’s work is done. He comes off, and Khedira comes on.
82 mins: Isco off and it’s the defensive-minded Illarra on. Barcelona come again, Rakitic and Pedro advanced down the right. The ball’s looped over to Dani Alves in the box… but they lose it and Ronaldo can break. Just over-runs it and Pique slides in.
80 mins: Barcelona keeping on keeping on but they’re not going to get much joy crossing the ball into the area, where Pepe and Ramos lurk.
78 mins: If it wasn’t for Mascherano… he’s saved them several times. But here come Benzema, Ronaldo and James with the break. The pace is remarkable. Sergio Roberto cuts out the ball from CR7 that would have sent James clean through.
75 mins: Mascherano cuts out James’s cross. Can Barca break? Neymar plays it into Messi but the great man cannot fashion much with it. He’s not been quite at his best tonight. Pepe and Ramos combine to deny a bursting run from Pedro.
74 mins: Now it is Real Madrid’s turn to play the ball around. Their fans enjoying it very much.
72 mins: Carvajal has clattered Mathieu and rightly goes in the book.
70 mins: Iniesta goes down clutching his calf and his evening’s work is over. Sergio Roberto comes on for him. Messi has freed Neymar, but this is a terrible miss. Oh, I think that he slipped, actually. Stephen Woodward asks:
68 mins: Suarez taken off, Pedro Rodriguez is the man to replace him. Suarez leaves to a hearty chorus of whistles. Madrid nick it, break and Benzema drills over. Ronaldo thinks he should have passed. Obviously.
67 mins: Barcelona playing the ball around, they’ve had it for some time, Suarez eventually slings it in to Neymar but he was always going to struggle with the header from that range.
64 mins: Rakitic has lost it again, and the whirling dervish that is Marcelo is off and running.
GOAL! Defensive error from Barcelona. Iniesta and Mascherano get in a muddle and one of them should have taken charge. Instead, Real Madrid break. It’s Isco to Ronaldo and it looks for a second like they have let the break die, but Ron keeps it alive and slips it to James, who in turn finds Benzema who hits a splendid shot that clips the far post and goes in. Real Madrid 3 Barcelona 1 (Benzema 61)
58 mins: Rakitic comes on to replace Xavi but his first act is to produce a poor corner, from which Madrid break…
57 mins: Dani Alves crosses and it hits Ronaldo in the face. I fail to see what is funny about that.
55 mins: Marcelo galloping down that left and he somehow reaches a long ball and hits a cross on the run. Gathered by the keeper.
54 mins: Suarez breaks, but slips under pressure from Sergio Ramos. Brilliant pass from Messi now, slips it to Neymar who gives him the return…. just too weak a pass. But the Mathieu shot nevertheless needs a good save from Casillas.
53 mins: Clash between Pepe and Messi. No foul given. Isco has a good chance to cross but hits the first man. Barcelona fail to clear.
GOAL! Pepe with a free header from the corner. Poor defending. Ramos was also unmarked. Terrible, really, for players of this level to leave an opponent unimpeded like that. Real Madrid 2 Barcelona 1 (Pepe 50)
50 mins: Benzema and Ronaldo break as the ref plays advantage and it needs a good block from Pique to deny them. Corner.
48 mins: Ronaldo with a poor first touch as RM break, Mathieu with a heavy but fair tackle. Now Ron tries a cross but it’s cut out.
47 mins: Modric chops Suarez down from behind, that should certainly have been a booking if those four in the first half were. Messi hits the freekick into the wall.
46 mins: Madrid come out fighting, James and Benzema linking up at pace. The former’s shot charged down.
HALF TIME: REAL MADRID 1 BARCELONA 1 Madcap game. Real Madrid were caught napping early on as Suarez set up Neymar for a fourth minute opener. But Ronaldo and pals got their act together and were good value for the equaliser. Overall? Wonderful attacking play, so much verve and pace and skill. Versus two well suspect defences. Carvajal has been the best defender on show.
45 mins: Not much injury time… and that’s the half.
43 mins: James cuts in from the right and shoots but it’s easily blocked. And now a ball from the left. Pique takes his eye off it, James with the header! He’s misjudged it totally.
41 mins: Real Madrid sitting back, two banks of four, letting Barcelona have the ball.
38 mins: Carvajal with another good tackle down the right, stopping Mattieu. Couple of corners for Barcelona from their left flank. They break, Isco denied by Alves. Game at a frenetic pace. Here’s CR7 down the right.
37 mins: Make that four. Iniesta into the book now for fouling Modric.
36 mins: The game is bubbling nicely. Three Barca players on a yellow.
GOAL! Perfect penalty, hard and low, no chance for the keeper. Ronaldo’s 21st goal this season – in just 14 matches. And the first one that Barcelona have left in for eight matches. Real Madrid 1 Barcelona 1 (Ronaldo 35p)
34 mins: Marcelo down the left… Crosses low and there’s an absolutely blatant handball from Pique, he’s stretched out fully along the ground to palm it out of the danger area. Yellow card and PENALTY. Ronaldo steps up…
32 mins: Ball into the Barca box, Ronaldo with the header – don’t leave HIM unmarked for heaven’s sake… Ronaldo’s header hits pique on the arm.
31 mins: Messi gets down the left, slings the ball in and Pepe JUST gets the header on it to deny the lurking Suarez.
28 mins: Carvajal, who is having a good game, slides in to stop and attack. Pique hauls down Benzema, that looked a decent penalty shout to me.
27 mins: Isco making progress down the right but he’s well stopped and Barcelona can get on the front foot. Xavi and Iniesta rolling back the years with some crisp, tidy posession.
25 mins: Wonderfully athletic defending from Marcello to cut out a ball from Alves. And now Ronaldo’s hit the deck in the Barca penalty area when he runs into Busquets but the ref isn’t buying it.
24 mins: James gets down the right and stabs the cross in with his left foot. Dani Alves gets up to deny Ronaldo.
22 mins: Barcelona should have had a second! Sergio Ramos gives it away foolishly, it’s slipped into Messi by Suarez and and Messi clips a shot wide. He’s furious with himself, and you can see why.
21 mins: Bit of a flat period as Barca play the ball around in their own half, the Madrid fans not enjoying that too much. Kroos give sit away cheaply, Mathieu frees Messi who shoots at the keeper.
19 mins: Dangerous break for Barca flounders, of all things, when Messi gets it stuck under his feet.
17 mins: Barca with a bit more of the ball now, but they lose it and here are the Whites. Marcelo orchestrating the break, slides it out to Ronaldo who has a shot from distance that’s easy for the keeper.
16 mins: Suarez hasn’t seen much of it. Corner for Barca. Cleared.
14 mins: Dear me, the more you look a that goal. Terrible defending. Anyhow, Kroos with a run and a shot but straight at the keeper.
11 mins: Benzema has missed a sitter. Neymar has gone into the book for elbowing Carvajal. Real Madrid having all the ball, Ronaldo running the show and an equaliser feels very likely.
10 mins: Messi, that well known enforcer, has committed two fouls. He’s slid in on Modric and then done the same to Kroos. Either one could have earned him a yellow, and he is booked for the second. Poor Amit.
8 mins: Real Madrid took a while to get going but they are in it now. It’s a very fine save from Brava to deny Benzema and then the Madrid stiker hits the post with the follow up!
5 mins: And now a chance for Madrid – ball slung into the box, the Barcelona centre halves posted missing, and Benzema should have done better with the opportunity.
GOAL! Barcelona have scored! Neymar. Suarez with the assist. The ball in from the right, Neymar picks it up and cuts inside. The Real Madrid defence back off, he’s allowed to run across the pitch and then crack the shot at goal. Neymar with the strike from 20 yards. Real Madrid 0 Barcelona 1 (Suarez 4)
2 mins: Cagey start from both sides. Xavi getting plenty of the ball. Early touch for Suarez.
4. Ronaldo has More Goals per Minute in La Liga
Ever since Real Madrid splashed out some £80 million on Ronaldo in the summer of 2009, it has become a constant competition between the two to score more goals than the other. Now, even though Lionel Messi has a better goals to game ratio since Ronaldo arrived, the Portuguese has the superior record when it comes how many minutes it takes to score each goal. Ronaldo hits the back of a net on average once every 79 minutes, whereas it takes Messi 10 minutes longer to score.
3. Ronaldo is Worth More Money
Messi is like that guy you used go to school with that arrived from overseas in primary school and now has no desire to leave. As such, it means that no transfer fee has ever been spent on a player that seems destined to stay at the Nou Camp for his entire career. Ronaldo, on the other hand, is a veritable globetrotter having moved from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United for £12.2 million before the world record smashing £80 million transfer from United to Real Madrid. It means £92.2 million more has been spent on Ronaldo than Messi
2. Ronaldo Knows How to Celebrate
Part of the fun that comes with playing football is the euphoria felt after scoring a goal. Creating inventive celebrations is a big factor in this. Unfortunately, this is all but lost on Messi, who has resorted to the most simple of routines to celebrate goals. Ronaldo, on the other hand, embraces the show of performing for the crowd after a goal is scored, demonstrating the kind of arrogance and emotion that has become his trademark.
1. European Golden Shoe in Two Different Leagues
Ronaldo has actually played in three different leagues to Messi’s one, and by virtue of his thirst to take his skills on a tour of Europe, he has managed to win the prize for Europe’s top scorer on two occasions in separate leagues. His first award came in 2007/08 for Manchester United, in what was arguably his best season in club football. The Portuguese striker notched 31 times in the league in 34 appearances (three were off the bench), as United romped to the league title. To add to this he also scored 8 goals in eleven Champions League games, including one in the final in Moscow. The second award came in 2010/11, when he had moved on to Spain with Real Madrid. A ridiculous haul of 40 league goals in 34 league appearances was only bettered by the fact that the total across all competitions was 53 goals in 54 games.
8. Ronaldo Has More International Goals
When it comes to Lionel Messi and his national team, it rarely “works” – the polar opposite of the kind of impact Ronaldo has had for Portugal. This is most notably obvious when the goals column is compared. Messi has hit the back of the net 37 times in 83 caps and as you’ll find out, most of these have not been in games that count for much. Ronaldo, on the other hand, is one off his half century (49 goals) in 110 caps, and four of his most recent goals directly influenced his country’s path into the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
7. Ronaldo Scores More Headers
To be considered the best player of this or any generation, one must have a set of tools that makes you a threat in any position – something that Cristiano Ronaldo has when goals are concerned. This is especially the case when in the air, where he has developed a leap that an Olympic gymnast would be proud of. It has meant scoring SIX TIMES as many headed goals as his arch nemesis. As of the end of the 2014 La Liga seasons winds down, the Portuguese superstar has scored 60 of his goals with his head compared to Messi’s 14.
6. Ronaldo is Better on the World Stage
It’s the eve of the biggest tournament on the planet and Messi still can’t profess to have scored even half as many goals as Ronaldo in major international tournaments. Across 24 games in either the European Championship or World Cup, Portugal’s favourite son has scored a total of eight goals. In comparison, the Argentinean has three goals in 18 games across the Copa America and World Cup.
5. Ronaldo is Deadly From Free Kicks
One of Ronaldo’s major assets is the way that he hits a dead ball, and it means that anything within almost 40 yards of the posts is fair game for the striker. This has translated to a total of 41 goals from free kicks over his entire career of 504 games at both club and international level, as of this writing. Messi, in comparison, has scored from just 15 free kicks and even though he still has a few years on Ronaldo, it’ll be some effort to catch up.
You thought Messi was better, think again.