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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Expect Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to score on Sunday - projection

Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo is the modern game's greatest individual rivalry.

Current goals total in La Liga: Ronaldo 19-12 Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick last weekend saw him increase his league goals lead over Lionel Messi to seven and both men are tipped to continue their good form this weekend, according to ESPN's projection model.

Messi is in action first when Barcelona visit Levante on Sunday. Later the same day, Ronaldo and Real Madrid are at Granada.

(Numbers for each player are based on him starting the game.)

Messi Ronaldo weekend 20160205
Last season, Messi netted once at Levante and Ronaldo did likewise at Granada.

2015-16 total goals projection


Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo: A statistical look at the birthday boys

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 343 goals in less than seven seasons for Real Madrid.

Two of world soccer's most popular stars share birthdays today. Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo turns 31 and Barcelona's Neymar turns 24. Ronaldo has cemented his name into many record books while Neymar is well on his way to doing the same.

Here are some notes on the birthday boys:

- Ronaldo surpassed the 500-goal plateau for his career earlier this season. 343 of his 518 goals have come in a Real Madrid jersey as it took Ronaldo less than seven full seasons to become club's all-time top scorer....

 By Rob Train

Zidane infusing Real Madrid with competitive streak of his playing days

FC TV debates whether Zidane's qualities as a player will help him succeed as Real Madrid manager.

Zinedine Zidane the player is remembered for his sublime ball control, ferocious shot and his balance, the ability to drop a shoulder and lose three defenders. But what is often overlooked is the France legend's competitive streak. Fans of Serie A in the 1990s may remember more than a YouTube reel can display. Zidane was as happy to get stuck in as the next man -- and at Juventus the next man was often Alessio Tacchinardi or Edgar Davids, no shrinking violets -- at every club he represented. 


Marcelo and Isco prosper at Real Madrid under Zinedine Zidane

With Luka Modric describing new boss Zinedine Zidane as his 'idol', ESPN FC's Craig Burley questions whether great players make great managers.

On the 90th minute of Real Madrid's 6-0 thrashing of Espanyol last Sunday, Marcelo touched the ball for one last time, a sideways pass to Cristiano Ronaldo. It was the 114th time that the Brazilian enjoyed possession of the ball in the game, and the 70th he did in the opposition's half.

That would sound like a reasonable number for an offensive midfielder in a home game, but for a left full-back?

One of the few players who, under former coach Rafael Benitez, managed to play more often like an accurate...

Real Madrid's team effort leaves Zinedine Zidane with reasons to smile

Zinedine Zidane believes fans have questioned Cristiano Ronaldo's recent form because they're used to seeing him score every match.

The 82,000 happy campers who witnessed Real Madrid's thrashing of Espanyol on Sunday night left the Santiago Bernabeu with more than a glint of hope. At least at home, the squad seem to have recovered the spark it lost in the final months of Rafael Benitez's reign, and delivered another display of convincing offensive football in the first 45 minutes of the match. Well in line with the fans' impressions, new coach Zinedine Zidane flashed his smile several times in the news conference after the match,...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Hat trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo pulls further away from Lionel Messi

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner does not feel football may ever see a better rivalry than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop breaks down Real Madrid's comprehensive victory over Espanyol, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring three.
Zinedine Zidane believes fans have questioned Ronaldo's recent form because they expect him to score in every match.
ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop breaks down Barcelona's 2-1 win over nine-man Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou.

Each week, ESPN FC projects and reviews the scoring battle between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in La Liga.

Current goals total in La Liga: Ronaldo 19-12 Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo netted a hat trick to increase his scoring lead over Lionel Messi, who had to settle for just one goal at the weekend.

Ronaldo was in fine form as Real Madrid thrashed Espanyol 6-0. The Portuguese forward scored with three of the five shots he took, four of which were on goal. 

Messi scored Barcelona's...