Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will meet again in El Clasico on Sunday.
Real Madrid and Barcelona will meet for the 234th time and the second this season when El Clasico takes place on Sunday at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
The teams played to a 1-1 draw in Barcelona on Dec. 3 when Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos scored an 89th-minute equaliser. Barcelona won 4-0 when the teams last played in Madrid in November 2015, but Real Madrid have the all-time edge in the rivalry, with 93 victories to Barcelona’s 91 (they have drawn 49 times).
It is essentially a must-win for Barcelona, who are three points behind Real Madrid in the league table. Although they have played one more game, Real Madrid’s three-point lead in the table is their largest in La Liga over Barcelona after 32 games since 2011-12 — the last time they won the league.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), Real Madrid will have a 99 percent chance of winning La Liga if they defeat Barcelona on Sunday.
Barcelona have a 43 percent chance to win on Sunday, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index (SPI).
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is the all-time leading scorer in El Clasico, with his total of 21 goals ahead of the 16 scored by Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Argentina international, however, has been held without a goal in his last six appearances in the derby, and since 2009-10, Ronaldo’s first season with Madrid, he has scored 16 goals — one more than Messi.
Should Messi score twice on Sunday, he’ll have scored 500 goals for Barcelona. With 29 goals this season, he is first in La Liga in scoring and he has scored more goals than Ronaldo while averaging fewer shots per game.
Lionel Messi leads La Liga in goals above average this season.
Ronaldo has scored 19 goals this season, putting him third in La Liga behind Messi and Barcelona’s Luis Suarez. Those goals, however, are his fewest in 31 league games since he scored just 18 in his first season with Los Blancos in 2009-10.
Likely missing from Sunday’s game will be Neymar, who has been suspended, pending a final appeal, for three games after receiving a red card in Barcelona’s game against Malaga on April 10.
The Brazil international has three goals and three assists — the most goals plus assists against Real Madrid by a Barcelona player since he joined the club in 2013-14. He also leads Barcelona this season with 19 assists and 114 chances created in all competitions.
Neymar’s three goals plus three assists rank above both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Suarez, second in La Liga with 23 goals, scored for Barcelona in El Clasico in December but has not scored in his last four games in all competitions. He also has seven fewer goals than he had at this point last season.
As for Real Madrid, a calf injury could prevent Gareth Bale from playing on Sunday. Bale, the hero for Madrid in the 2014 Copa del Rey final against Barcelona, has scored nine goals and recorded three assists this season, his fewest at this point since joining the club in 2013-14.
That means more could be expected on Sunday from Alvaro Morata and Karim Benzema, who each have 17 goals in all competitions — second only to Ronaldo.
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