Messi vs Ronaldo – The Only Race Still Not Over

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo chasing another Pichichi title is pretty much the only thing still remaining for the two Clasico rivals. Barcelona did beat Rayo Vallecano 7-0, staying 7 points behind Real Madrid, who beat Sevilla 3-0. With three matches and nine points left in the bank, there’s not much meat left in the La Liga title race.

Whether Ronaldo and Messi actually care about that individual title, you’ll have to assume for yourself. Messi is always quiet and doesn’t talk much to the press, while Ronaldo, the last player to win the scoring title in Spain with a record setting 40 league goals last season, keeps the same stance over the last couple of years – Team titles are much more important. This season he’s getting a major one for the first time since leaving Manchester United.

Again, the numbers are just staggering. Cristiano Ronaldo scored once against Sevilla, taking his bounty up to 43 league goals in 35 matches and 57 goals in 52 overall. Lionel Messi scored twice against Rayo, equaling Ronaldo’s league numbers while making it a total of 65 goals all season. Two more goals and he ties Gerd Muller‘s record for goals in a single season.

For Barcelona, who had a Friday and Saturday of disproportional grieving over the announcement of Pep Guardiola’s departure from the club, it’s about finding a source of interest and form while staying in shape for the Cup final against Bilbao, while still hoping and hanging on to that tiny chance that Real Madrid might mess up in the final three matches. Puyol scolding Dani Alves and Thiago for their excessive celebration brought on more attention than the actual 7-0 win. Probably says something about what people expect from Barca and Real when they play.

And for Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho keeps it interesting, still not showing up for the press conferences. We actually thought that pretty much securing the title by winning the clasico would help Mourinho shake loose of his paranoid behavior. I guess that even for the greatest of coaches, even for a man about to win his 7th league title in four different leagues, stepping off his high ground is immensely difficult. Great manager, little person.