La Liga

Messi and Ronaldo Watch: Messi Nears Record, Ronaldo Lifts Real in Derby

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 01:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammate Jordi Alba (C) and Cesc Fabregas after scoring his team's fifth goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club at Camp Nou on December 1, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images
Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterDecember 3, 2012

As the wins rolled in for Barcelona and Real Madrid this week, the feeling at Spain's two most famous clubs hardly could have been more different.

Barca won twice more under first-year manager Tito Vilanova, moving forward in the Copa del Rey and extending their lead atop La Liga. Meanwhile, superstar Lionel Messi posted more goals and maintained his assault on yet another prestigious scoring record.

Real Madrid also won twice and Cristiano Ronaldo found the scoresheet. But that didn't stop the press from reporting that manager Jose Mourinho is on his way out at the end of the season (via The Guardian).

It was, in other words, a busy week for world football's two biggest superstars. Keep reading for all the details from a week that included both Messi and Ronaldo being named Ballon d'Or finalists.

 

Real, Barca advance without stars

Real Madrid and Barcelona both won midweek in the fourth round of the Spanish Cup, though both had to work for their victories.

Real scored three times in the final 20 minutes to defeat Alcoyano 3-0 on Tuesday. Angel Di Maria broke the deadlock in the 71st minute before Jose Maria Callejon added a quickfire double in the closing minutes.

Ronaldo was named to the bench but did not feature for Real.

On Wednesday, Barcelona came from behind to defeat Alaves 3-1. Adriano equalized in the 35th minute before David Villa's second-half double sealed the victory.

Messi was not named in Barcelona's squad for the match.

Real Madrid will play Celta Vigo in the Round of 16. Barcelona will play Córdoba.

 

Messi nears record

Messi returned to the team and scored twice as Barcelona routed Athletic Bilbao 5-1 on Saturday in La Liga. The Argentine forward struck in the 25th and 70th minutes as Barca coasted to a six-point lead atop the table.

The goals were Messi's 83rd and 84th of 2012. He remains one goal behind Gerd Müller's all-time record of 85 goals in 1972.

Messi also tied César Rodriguez's record of 190 league goals for Barca (via FCBarcelona.com).

Messi's individual highlights can be viewed in the video at right.

 

Ronaldo, Real back on track

Real Madrid recovered from last weekend's loss at Real Betis by beating Atletico Madrid 2-0 in the Madrid Derby at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

Ronaldo scored the opener in the 16th minute with a free kick, and Mesut Ozil added Real's second in the 66th.

The win pulled Real within five points of Atletico, who are currently second behind Barcelona.

Ronaldo's individual highlights can be seen in the video at right.

 

Keeping track and looking ahead

Messi leads La Liga with 21 goals through 14 matches. He has scored 28 goals in all competitions this season.

Barcelona finish Champions League group play with a home match against Benfica on Wednesday before playing at Real Betis in La Liga on Sunday.

Ronaldo is second in the league with 13 goals, two ahead of Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao. He has scored 20 goals in all competitions this season.

Real Madrid host Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday and visit Valladolid on Saturday.

Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League.

 

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