x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

No stopping rampant Real Madrid despite Messi show

Ronaldo spearheads an attack that will surely secure the Spanish league title.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts against Betis during their La Liga soccer match at the Benito Villamarin stadium on Saturday, March 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Angel Fernandez) *** Local Caption *** Spain Soccer La Liga.JPEG-0cd18.jpg
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts against Betis during their La Liga soccer match at the Benito Villamarin stadium on Saturday, March 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Angel Fernandez) *** Local Caption *** Spain Soccer La Liga.JPEG-0cd18.jpg

With five good reasons in one game for Barcelona against Bayer Leverkusen, Lionel Messi is again being proclaimed as football's greatest player.

Messi may play in Spain, but they barely care in the capital because Real Madrid are on the way to the league title and Barcelona are not.

Real have accumulated 70 points from 26 games, an average of 2.69 points per match. If they continue at this rate - and there is no reason to suggest they will not - Real will amass 102 points from 38 games, surpassing Barca's 99-point total set in 2010.

Real have to travel to a Barca side who keep defeating them, but regardless of what happens at Camp Nou next month, they are also on target to shatter all goalscoring records.

Jose Mourinho's side have scored 88 goals from 26 games, an average of 3.3 per game.

Not only is that 13 more than Messi's Barca and more than twice that of any other club, but if the rate continues they are set for a 125 goal tally which would shatter the record of 107 set by John Toshack's Real side who were champions in 1989/90.

Then, Real boasted Hugo Sanchez and Emilio Butragueno up front, now they have Cristiano Ronaldo, supported by either Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain. Ronaldo has netted 32 times in the league and is on target to beat his own 41-goal Pichichi record set last season, which in itself was a Spanish record.

Higuain, with 17 league goals and Benzema, with 13 are rotated and seldom start together, although all three are expected to start against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League last 16 second leg tonight at the Bernabeu as Real go for victory after drawing the first leg.

In the Primera Liga, the goals record has been coming. Barcelona have won the title in each of the last three seasons, but Real have been top scorers in the last two, netting 102 goals in 2010 and 2011. Barca's record was set in 2009 when they scored 105.

The increase in goals illustrates the dominance of the big two - Real won the league with just 66 as recently as 2007 - but it also shows Real's brilliance and commitment to attacking football, not something always readily associated with Mourinho.

sports@thenational.ae