The fifth round of the group stage in the Champions League kicks off across Europe this week. Some teams could finalize their places in the Round of 16, while other clubs are betting the odds to remain in the competition.
But one big event to bet on is the odds of a new all time leading goalscorer in the Champions League. During the fourth round, Lionel Messi netted his 71st career Champions League goal, tying a record that was previously held solely by Spanish icon Raul.
Messi is one of two players in the race to surpass Raul’s record. The other is Messi’s rival and Raul’s successor at Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Football fans were betting on Messi and Ronaldo in the fourth round near the beginning of November. During their respective games Messi scored a goal for Barcelona, but Ronaldo was unable to notch his 71st during Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Liverpool.
This leaves Messi with the best odds to set a new record when Barcelona heads to Cyprus for a showdown with Apoel Nicosia this week. One goal by the Barcelona striker and Messi will succeed the all time goal scoring record held by Raul since 2011.
Messi will have his chance to break the record before Ronaldo. Barcelona’s game will kick off on Tuesday in Cyprus, whereas Real Madrid’s game against Basel does not kick off until Wednesday in Switzerland.
If Messi remains goalless when the game clock expires in Cyprus, Ronaldo has a shot of overtaking the record before his rival. The Real Madrid striker will need to net two goals for his club against Basel to match Raul’s – and now Messi’s record, as well as surpass the record as the all time leading Champions League goalscorer.
It’s a race to become the new record holder, but which player will be the first to score the record setting goal?