Monday 19 February 2018

Messi and Ronaldo on fire ahead of 'El Clasico' duel

European Round-up

Lionel Messi hit four goals for leaders Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a hat-trick for Real Madrid as both sides recorded crushing La Liga victories yesterday ahead of their midweek King's Cup semi-final clash.

Messi took his league tally for the season to 33 and 202 overall in Barca's 5-1 win at home to 10-man Osasuna, while Ronaldo passed the landmark of 300 club goals and now has 21 this term as Real thumped Getafe 4-0.

Barca returned to winning ways after last weekend's 3-2 reverse at Real Sociedad, their first defeat of the campaign. Champions Real, whose hopes of a second straight title are effectively over with 21 of 38 matches played, are four points behind Atletico Madrid in third spot. Messi became the first player to score on 11 successive La Liga match-days and, at 25, the youngest to reach 200 league goals. He has scored more goals than all the other La Liga teams apart from Real and Atletico.

In Italy, Napoli closed to within three points of Serie A leaders Juventus when Edison Cavani hit his 18th goal of the season to give his side a 2-1 win over Parma. Juve only managed a 1-1 draw with Genoa while AC Milan moved up to fifth thanks to a 1-0 win over Atalanta.

Mario Mandzukic scored one and set up another as Bayern Munich increased their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to 11 points with a 2-0 victory at Stuttgart. Mandzukic put them ahead in the 50th minute before Thomas Muller made it two.

Elsewhere, Ivory Coast captain and former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has left Shanghai Shenhua to sign an 18-month contract with Galatasaray, who last week signed Wesley Sneijder.

Drogba's team-mate in Shanghai, Nicolas Anelka, has joined Juventus on a five-month deal.

Irish Independent

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