the republic logo

Messi 2 goals from Spanish league scoring record, Ronaldo looks to keep streak going

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

BARCELONA, Spain — Lionel Messi will have a good shot at equaling the Spanish league's all-time scoring record when leader Barcelona hosts promoted club Eibar on Saturday.

Messi is two goals away from matching Telmo Zarra's milestone of 251 goals that has stood untouched since the former Athletic Bilbao star established it in 1955.

If Messi comes up short, his next chance will come the following weekend when Barcelona visits Real Madrid in the first "clasico" match of the season.

Here are the things to know about the eighth round of matches:


RONALDO'S RUN

While Messi chases Zarra, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo will look to keep up his own superb start to the season.

After going scoreless in Portugal's 2-1 loss to France in a friendly, Ronaldo gave Portugal its first win in qualifying for the 2016 European Championship by netting a last-gasp header deep in injury time to snatch a 1-0 win over Denmark on Tuesday.

That came after Ronaldo scored for an eighth consecutive appearance with Madrid.

Ronaldo leads the Spanish league with 13 goals, more than the entire team totals of 16 of the league's 20 sides.

The Ballon d'Or holder can add to that when fourth-place Madrid visits Levante on Saturday before heading to Liverpool in the Champions League next Wednesday.


MIGHTY MINNOWS

Eibar looks like an easy three points for Barcelona. It is playing in the top flight for the first time and has one of its lowest budgets at 18 million euros ($23 million), compared to Barcelona's 457 million euros ($584 million).

But Eibar has only lost two of seven games in its first-division debut. It has also two of the best goals so far: Javi Lara's angled free kick to beat Real Sociedad in its opener and Saul Berjon's blistering volley to help earn a 3-3 draw against Levante last round.

"We are going to try and take points any way we can," Lara said. "We will try to make it a war with the weapons we have. So far, we have been able to hold our own in all our matches, playing with intensity, not relinquishing possession, and knowing that there will be moments when we will have to dig down and hang in there."

PHOTO: Argentina's Lionel Messi, right, fights for the ball with Hong Kong's Kwok Kin Pong during a friendly soccer match in Hong Kong Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Argentina's Lionel Messi, right, fights for the ball with Hong Kong's Kwok Kin Pong during a friendly soccer match in Hong Kong Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Eibar will face a Barcelona defense that has not allowed a goal this campaign, helping goalkeeper Claudio Bravo set a new record for not conceding to start a season.

Besides Messi, Eibar will also have to defend an in-form Neymar, who leads Barcelona with seven goals in league play.


AGING IKER

Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has responded to criticism for his latest mistake in Spain's unexpected loss at Slovakia last week by reminding his fans even he can't play forever.

"I am not immortal and everyone has to know when to step down from the national team," the 33-year-old Casillas said. "Right now I feel fine and strong enough to help my country."

Casillas is also under pressure at Madrid, which signed Keylor Navas after his performance with Costa Rica at this summer's World Cup.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti has started Casillas over Navas in all but one game.


VALENCIA UNBEATEN

Valencia is in second place two points behind Barcelona and the only undefeated team in the league beside the pacesetters.

Valencia visits last-place Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.

Deportivo has one win in its return to the first division and has lost its last four games by a combined score of 15-4.


STRONG SEVILLA

Sevilla visits Elche on Sunday looking to retain its hold of third place three points behind Barcelona.

Carlos Bacca leads Sevilla with five goals, while Barcelona loanees Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu are fitting into Unai Emery's attack.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2014 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.