La Liga: Record-breaking week for Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo
Tom Wellman reflects on a record-breaking week for Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo
Messi and Ronaldo rewrite the record books
A hectic week in Spain saw two records smashed. Lionel Messi was first, becoming Barcelona’s all-time leading goal scorer after grabbing a hat-trick against Granada on Tuesday night, taking his tally to an astounding 235 goals. It’s easy to forget the Argentine forward is still only 24! Then Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed the headlines for his own spectacular achievement. The Portuguese forward reached 100 goals in La Liga in 92 games and beating Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas’ previous record by a convincing 13 games. The Messi-Ronaldo rivalry continues in Spain.
Málaga’s Champions League hopes going strong
Málaga are unbeaten in six games following five victories and a hard-fought draw at the Bernabeu, leaving them within touching distance of third place as Los Boquerones look to be heading for the next step in their Qatar-bankrolled rise. Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Martín Demichelis scored to defeat Espanyol 2-1 on Sunday and take Málaga level on points with Valencia. We could be seeing Europe’s elite travelling to La Rosadela next season as the southern side take the next big step on their exciting journey.
Could this be the beginning of Zaragoza’s great escape?
Real Zaragoza were seven points adrift of 19th place at the beginning of February and 10 points behind 17th-placed Racing, but following a dramatic weekend they are now level on points with the other teams in the bottom three and six points from safety. Zaragoza looked a certainty for relegation having spent most of the season rooted to the bottom of the league and at war with their President Agapito Iglesias – but a late 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid now has the team dreaming of a wonderful fightback.
Valencia succumb to a second straight defeat
Valencia’s defeats by Zaragoza and Getafe have derailed their comfortable ride towards another season of Champions League football. The Mestalla outfit are now level on points with Malaga and just three points ahead of fifth-placed Levante. Having taken the lead against Getafe, Valencia were complacent and conceded three goals which will worry manager Unai Emery. With Levante, AZ Alkmaar and Real Madrid next up, it will be a tough and tense few weeks at the Mestalla.
Own goal for Ramos slight justice after Real press Spanish FA
Last week, Madrid’s disciplinary record took a battering as they lost Mesut Ozil, Pepe and Sergio Ramos to red cards, while Jose Mourinho was also sent off in the draw against Villarreal. Yet Ramos was allowed to play against Real Sociedad – the Spanish full-back shouldn’t have been on the pitch. But thanks to Real’s lawyers, who were able to take advantage of the referee’s notes from the El Madrigal game, the Spanish FA to let Ramos off a ban. But justice was perhaps served as Ramos netted an own-goal in Real’s 5-1 win over Sociedad.