No athlete has captured the hearts of the Sports Dump like Lionel Messi. We all know about his amazing ability to stop time, rescue princesses and slay dragons but Mr. Messi is also a hell of a soccer player. I’m uniquely qualified to critique his soccer skills since I was the coach of the Blue Dogs, the worst soccer team in the Iredell County YMCA 3/4-year-old division. But enough of my coaching resume, let’s get to the matchup.
FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid 4/21/12 2pm (EST) ESPN
On Saturday the 2 best teams in the world will face off in what will be the 219th meeting between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona since 1916. With just 5 games left on the La Liga 11/12 schedule, the 2 teams sit 1st(Madrid) and 2nd(Barca) in the standings and with just 4 points separating them a win by Barca would cut the deficit to just 1 point. This would set up an epic finish to the season.
Messi vs Ronaldo
Both players have 41 goals in league play this season and are fighting for the scoring title. We have been keeping track of Messi’s record pace with 63 goals in 53 competitions this season but Ronaldo’s 53 in 49 is also outstanding. These 2 will be the ones to watch in this classic matchup.
With both teams coming off defeats and Barca has not lost to Real Madrid in the last 7 contest I am going with a 2-1 Barca victory on the foot of 2 Messi goals.
Projected Lineups:(Source: barcacentral)
Barça: Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Puyol; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Alexis.
Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Xavi Alonso, Khedira; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Benzema.