La Liga Team of the Week: Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi & Falcao make up dream front line

After the world stopped for 90 minutes during the Clasico on Sunday night, the seventh round of La Liga concluded with Atletico Madrid’s dramatic late win over Malaga, which saw Diego Simeone’s side join Barcelona on top of the Primera Division.

And following the latest round of La Liga, Goal.com takes a look at the standout performers from the weekend action.

Adrian is the goalkeeper in our first-choice XI. The Betis canterano made several outstanding saves in his side’s 2-0 win over Real Sociedad, which moved them up to fourth place in the table.

In defence, Andoni Iraola shone at the back and going forward for Athletic Bilbao in their 1-0 win over Osasuna, while Paulao was exceptional for Betis as he scored and made a happy return from injury, and Jose Manuel Casado was key for Rayo Vallecano against Deportivo La Coruna, especially as the Galicians piled on the pressure in the closing minutes of the Madrid side’s 2-1 success.

Oscar de Marcos was his side’s main creative outlet and set up Aritz Aduriz for the only goal of the game as Athletic Bilbao beat Osasuna. Another Basque, Benat, was impressive for Betis assisted Ruben Castro’s goal against Real Sociedad, while Piti scored and was a constant threat for Rayo in their victory over Deportivo.

Just behind the attack, Mesut Ozil was one of the Clasico’s protagonists, setting up Cristiano Ronaldo’s all-important leveller in the second half at Camp Nou on Sunday night.

But without doubt, the biggest stars from the weekend are to be found in attack. Lionel Messi hit two goals including a fantastic free kick for Barcelona against Real Madrid, but was cancelled out by an equally exceptional Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored twice himself as the world’s two best players stole the show in the entertaining 2-2 draw. But completing the trident is Atletico’s Radamel Falcao, who scored the first and helped force the second – an own goal by Weligton – as Simeone’s side beat Malaga 2-1 and moved joint-top of La Liga.








Cartoon of the Day: Out-of-this-world Messi and Ronaldo touch down at El Clasico

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho claimed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were “from another planet” after their Clasico exploits on Sunday evening – and few who watched the action at Camp Nou would disagree.

The showpiece Liga clash was billed as the Ballon d’Or decider, the match which could determine once and for all which of the world’s two leading lights should be considered the greatest of the modern game. However, after two sublime goals apiece and a share of the spoils for either side, the debate has only been further fuelled.

The Argentina and Portugal stars shone the brightest on a field of stellar talent as each side fought back from a goal down to draw a thrilling contest 2-2 and leave the title race (just about) still open.

Out-of-this-world Messi and Ronaldo touch down at El Clasico

Raul: Clasico draw a fair result

Raul Gonzalez - AlSadd @ Qatar

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Real Madrid icon Raul feels that the 2-2 draw in Sunday’s Clasico versus Barcelona at Camp Nou was the just outcome.

The former Spain international was hoping for a victory for the titleholders, but admitted that neither of the two sides deserved to lose.

“I would obviously have liked it if had Madrid won the game and closed the gap on Barca a bit, but a draw was a fair result in my opinion,” he told Al Jazeera.

“Both teams were on top of their game and put in a good performance, looking for a reward in the form of the full three points. Neither of the teams got the victory they were after, but it was a game to remember.

“The title race isn’t over just yet. There are still many games to be played. It’s true that Barcelona are in a better position, though, as they maintained their eight-point lead.”

Real Madrid sit in joint fifth position in La Liga following this weekend’s results.

Sergio Ramos: Real Madrid not a team that enters into debates about referees

Sergio Ramos has stressed that Real Madrid prefer not to discuss refereeing performances in order to stay clear of any controversies in the wake of Sunday’s 2-2 La Liga draw away against Barcelona.

The Spain international feels that los Blancos should have been awarded a penalty for a foul on Mesut Ozil inside the Catalans’ area, but refused to judge referee Carlos Delgado Ferreiro.

“He is a referee who I like. Ozil’s penalty seemed clear, but we are not a team that enters into debates about referees,” Sergio Ramos told reporters.

The defender then went on to voice his delight with Real Madrid’s performance and felt they perhaps deserved the full three points.

“We are happy about the team’s hard work and good display. We went out to play from the beginning, but we’re going home with a bittersweet feeling.

“If we had won it would not have surprised anyone, but these things happen in football. On other occasions we have acknowledged that Barcelona were better but that would not have been what happened on Sunday if we had won.”

Real Madrid sit fifth in La Liga following this weekend’s results, trailing joint leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid by eight points.

Betting Special: Will it be an all-Spanish Champions League final?

Another Clasico and another two goals apiece from the world’s greatest footballers – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

It’s easy to see why many are tipping Real Madrid and Barcelona to be contesting the Champions League final at Wembley in May.

The showdown very nearly took place earlier this year but Jose Mourinho’s side were denied on penalties by Bayern Munich after Chelsea had stunned Barca at Camp Nou.


The Catalan giants have taken the exit of Pep Guardiola in their stride and remain favourites for the trophy, while Jose Mourinho is as determined as ever to get his hands on the prize he won at Porto and Inter.

In fact, the biggest stumbling block to them meeting in the final is the possibility of the superpowers drawing each other in the knockout stages before then – as they did in 2011.

But with Malaga and Valencia also likely to be in the last 16, it may be worth backing an all-Spanish final at 3/1 with .

That last happened in 2000 when Real and Valencia clashed but you don’t have to go back that far for an all-British final – that happened in 2008 when Manchester United beat current champions Chelsea.

With four viable candidates for the crown in the Premier League – and Celtic making a push for the last 16 too – the all-British final might appeal at 11/2 with .

If you think that Britain’s best bet comes in the form of high-flying Chelsea and improving Arsenal then the price for an all-London final is worth a look at 33/1.

The same price is available for the scenario that may well be every Londoner’s worst nightmare come May 25th 2013 – the all-Manchester final in the country’s capital.

It would be the chance for sweet revenge for the red half of the city, while a dramatic win for the team in blue would threaten to top the events of last May. An all-Manchester final is also 33/1 with .



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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here – you can also follow Adam on