- Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have combined to lead the competition in every season since 2007-08, when the latter netted eight times for Manchester United.
- Only Neymar, who co-led with the pair back in 2014-15, has shared the scoring podium with the them in that time frame.
- Ronaldo’s Juventus will play in Group D alongside Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow; Messi’s Barcelona will face Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Slavia Prague in Group F.
On paper, this is a reasonable prop bet to make: Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the Champions League’s scoring races for the past decade-plus, and are undisputably generational talents.
Odds Messi or Ronaldo Will Lead UCL Scoring
|Outcome||Odds at BetOnline|
*All odds taken 09/16/19
However, both are getting older — Barca’s talisman is 32, while the Juventus dynamo is 34 — and oddsmakers seem to be at least a bit weary of the duo. Load management could certainly come into play, especially with both clubs in relatively easy groups (especially Barcelona).
There are plenty of high-quality options in both teams, and the same issues we highlighted in our La Liga Golden Boot preview come into play here for Messi; his teammates are so good, they could cannibalize his output if Barça has the success they should in Group F and beyond.
A friendly reminder Lionel Messi scored 91, NINETY ONE goals in a calendar year pic.twitter.com/qnmzlsy1vj
— ٍ (@zak_afc) September 14, 2019
With that said, we are still talking about the two pre-eminent talents in the game today. The likes of Atletico’s Joao Felix and PSG’s Kylian Mbappe are undoubtedly the next generation of supreme talents, but until proven otherwise the Messi/Ronaldo duo is still the pair to beat on the continental stage.
Pick: Yes (+275), because it’s good value for the two veterans who have consistently led the Champions League in scoring since before most of their contemporaries were first-team professional footballers. Barcelona and Juventus are near-automatic picks to make the quarterfinals — the last time the former failed to make the QF was 2006-07, while the latter has made it three years on the hop.
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