With the highly anticipated El Clasico set for Sunday, we look at the numbers of the likely starters in attack for both hosts Real Madrid and their eternal rivals Barcelona.
While Karim Benzema has been on the receiving end of criticism on several occasions, his boss Zinedine Zidane has shown plenty of faith in his compatriot handing him 19 league starts in addition to 5 appearances as a substitute.
Benzema repaid Zidane’s faith with respectable yet unimpressive numbers. He managed to score just 9 goals while providing 4 assists. Contrast that with teammate and super-sub Alvaro Morata’s stats and one can understand why fans and critics alike tend to be harsh on Benzema. Morata has scored 12 goals and provided 2 assists while starting 11 league games and making a further 10 appearances as a substitute.
Benzema is expected to start on Sunday but the focal point of Real’s attack will be none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar has himself been dealing with growing discontent among fans with sections of the Santiago Bernabeu whistling him in recent weeks. However, Ronaldo has not won the Ballon d’Or four times for no reason. He responded in typical fashion scoring 5 goals in 2 games against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
In La Liga, Ronaldo remains Real’s top scorer with 19 goals and 6 assists in just 24 league starts. His teammates will look for him during El Clasico knowing the Portuguese legend has a knack for find the back of the net when least expected.
In 30 league games, Suarez has scored an impressive tally of 23 goals while giving 12 assists. With Neymar sidelined, Suarez will become ever more important to Barca’s plan against Real. The Uruguayan will be on the receiving end of incisive passes from Argentine supertar Messi.
Messi is having a great season by even his own standards. In just 28 league games, including 26 starts, Messi has scored a remarkable total of 29 goals while also chipping in with 8 assists.
The Messi versus Ronaldo debate has been going on for years but perhaps it is time to sit back and enjoy their performances while acknowledging the duo as the greatest of their generation and most likely two of the best all-time footballers. Having said that, who is the more likely scorer on Sunday, Messi or Ronaldo? The debate never ends…