- 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 indisputably generational talents.
Odds Messi or Ronaldo Will Lead UCL Scoring
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 preeminent 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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