Barcelona take on bitter rivals Real Madrid under the lights at Camp Nou on Wednesday in what promises to be a white-knuckle tussle between the top two teams in La Liga.
To have any chance of toppling Barca in their own back yard, Real must find a way to limit the impact of the incomparable Lionel Messi, though few have succeeded in blunting the razer from Rosario.
The Argentine artiste doesn’t tend to paint by numbers, yet Messi’s abstract genius is reflected in a long list of startling El Clasico statistics.
The 32-year old has scored more goals (26) and notched more assists (14) than any other player in the history of fixtures between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and Messi will be out to add to both numbers when the clubs go head-to-head again this week.
Ahead of the action, let’s take a closer look at some of the betting markets where Lionel Messi is likely to make his presence felt in our El Clasico betting tips special.
Looking for more Barcelona vs Real Madrid predictions? Check out our detailed match preview for more El Clasico betting tips!
Lionel Messi to score anytime
Ok, let’s get this one out of the way early. Along with his sensational individual goal getting record in games against Real, Messi comes into Wednesday’s contest armed with the momentum of a recent goal-scoring streak.
The other-wordly Argentine battered home an eye-watering eight goals in his last five appearances for Barcelona, in a sequence that also saw him hit hattricks against Mallorca and Celta Vigo respectively.
In total, Messi has already bagged 18 goals in all competitions this term, and against a Real Madrid defence that has kept just one clean sheet in six games, La Pulga Atomica (The Atomic Flea) will back himself to get on the scoresheet again.
Lionel Messi to score two or more goals
The incredible goal threat that Messi carries means that it’s never a surprise when the newly crowned Ballon d’Or winner scores two or more goals in any game or against any opponent.
Messi has already scored two or more goals on three separate occasions for Barcelona since the summer, and his record of scoring goals in multiples in the El Clasico is second to none.
The Argentinean superstar registered two or more goals for Barcelona in seven separate skirmishes with Real Madrid since lining up against them for the first time all the way back in 2007, and we think Messi has enough weapons in his armory to rattle home another couple of goals on Wednesday.
Lionel Messi first goalscorer
Talismanic figurehead and club icon Messi can always be relied upon to produce match-defining moments on the biggest occasions, and the Argentine is a prime candidate to draw first blood in Wednesday’s El Clasico.
Messi has broken the deadlock for Barca in games against their traditional antagonists Real on four occasions during his career, and already this season, Los Cules’ captain has shown an aptitude for opening the scoring against some of Barcelona’s various other opponents.
The 32-year old maestro scored the first goal in four of Barcelona’s fixtures in all competitions since August, and at the prices quoted, Messi is an attractive option to repeat the trick against Real.
Sergio Ramos to get booked
Hard-hitting Spanish defender Sergio Ramos has amassed more cards than any other player in the history of La Liga, and even though that is a record that the centre-half could do without, it won’t lessen the intensity that he takes in Wednesday’s game.
Somewhat unsurprisingly then, Ramos is also the most carded player in the history of El Clasico matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona, and the 33-year old was shown yellow four times in his last six appearances alone in the historically significant fixture.
This week, Ramos is certain to be deployed as the left-sided centre half in Real’s backline – a position and zone that Lionel Messi likes to drift into during games.
With his hair-trigger temper and record of ill-discipline, Ramos is sure to aim a few tasty challenges in Messi’s direction this week, and that should in turn draw more unwanted attention from the officials.
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