Messi or Ronaldo? That is the question on everyone’s lips for the La Liga top scorer is also the question for the Champions League accolades with the two having won the award for the last 6 seasons and it is clear that both are sure to take the beating assuming a clear campaign.
Messi has a troubled last season thanks to injury but still managed to score eight; Ronaldo scored a ridiculous 17 on his way to La Decima. The two are hard to split, and many are sure to go for a dutching of the pair at just over evens, which makes perfect sense, although the percentage call is that a defending champion cannot retain the trophy, and with Messi sure to play more games, or a closer amount of games compared to Ronaldo this season, the 11/2 dangled with Bet Victor is tempting in what the markets have as a math. But there are 4 places offered by many teams and that means at least two places for the best of the rest, often at big prices.
Diego Costa was an example of this last season, finishing with eight goals for Atletico, and he is still well into double figures for a team that is rated far more likely to go to the final than Atletico were last year. Those prices may well be wide of the mark but in a side with Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle and Willian to name just three creative playmakers, Costa is not going to lack for ample supply and in a group against Schalke (a side Chelsea beat 3-0 twice last season), Maribor, and Sporting Lisbon, he should have plenty of opportunities for goals in the group stage and is the sole man for a team that is no bigger than 7/1 to win the trophy, so the 16/1 on offer with Coral and Hills looks extremely reasonable. He could be rested quite frequently with some nasty fixtures after their CL games – they have to play Manchester City at Eastland on Sunday, Arsenal (home) United (away) and Liverpool (away) after their first four fixtures – but he scored in the both legs of his last 16 tie and also notched in the semi final.
Robert Lewandoski is sure to have his each/way backers playing for Bayern Munich but they have drawn extremely difficult opponents in City and Roma to start off with and Pep Guaridol’as tactical tinkering is taking team for the team to adjust to, which hints at a potentially slow start. In any case, his team mate Thomas Muller makes at least as much appeal. The forward’s finishing is amongst the best on the planet and the same can be said of his position, which has earned him opportunities on the highest stage season after season.
Just think about his stats. When Bayern won the Champions League he scored 8 goals, and last year he found the net 5 time from 300 less minutes of play than the previous season; To add for good measure he scored 5 goals in the World Cup as well to prove how he excels on the biggest stage once again. Playing with an sort of striker doe not seem to bother him and at 20/1 he has the potential to be a serious player, although it would be a relief to see him having an easy last 16 tie; He should be strongly considered to be the top club striker at 11/4 though.
Atletico Madrid are not to be forgotten however and may have an ideal replacement for Diego Costa upfront in Mario Mandzukic, the ex Bayern man who has been entrusted with leading the line in their bid to go one better. Mandzukic has scored 12, 15 and 18 goals in the last three league seasons for Bayern and is ideally suited to the set piece oriented style of play that Atletico employ so well with Alessandro Cerci and Antoine Greizmann either side he should have plenty of movement to work with as the two bed in. If Atletico get to the quarter-finals he should be able to get near enough to 900 minutes and that makes 40/1 a tempting price.
Zaltan Ibrahimovic is another major contender with games against APOEL and Ajax before a last 16 tie at the least and with PSG looking to go further he looks to be priced correctly at 16/1 and can be an each/way bet to nothing. The Swede has scored 23 goals in the last 5 seasons of the Champions League and with two games against APOEL, should be able to fill his boots along with an Ajax squad that is regressing with each season. Edison Cavani is not the worst 50/1 shot in the world, although his deployment on the wing for the most part seems to have limited his goalscoring prowess.
Real Madrid may not score 41 goals but they can be expected to put plenty past opponents again. The worry about backing one of Gareth Bale or Karim Benezema is that neither reached the places with tallies of 6 and 5 last season which puts one off their chances with Cristiano Ronaldo looking as if he’s going to be fit and dominate their play as he usually does. All three have their angles into the game, and all three deserve a range of respect although if Madrid are to go close to retaining their title then it looks likely that the bulk of goals will be scored by the Portuguese.
Borussia Dortmund are capable of soring plenty of goals, and frontmen Ciro Immobile and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can be considered along with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, although the issue of goal sharing once again makes it hard to be focused on one of them solely.
Neymar is interesting at 33’s for Barcelona but when Luis Suarez comes he will surely get gametime and Lionel Messi, like Ronaldo at Madrid, will surely take the mantle; Manchester City may find that opportunities come against Bayern on Matchday one but they too look have made a slow start to the season and there are too many question marks over Sergio Aguero’s fitness to be confidence and neither of his teammates make appeal; Daniel Sturridge will need Liverpool to go far to dominate and there are no end of goalscorers to fill the void in his absence.
2.5 pts Diego Costa (16/1 Bet Victor, Hills)
1 pt each/way Thomas Muller (25/1 general)
1 pt each/way Zlatan Ibrahimovic (16/1 general)
1 pt each/way Mario Mandzukic (40/1 general)
2 pts Thomas Muller to be top Bayern Munich goalscorer (11/4 Bet Victor)