Ronaldo, Messi face off to decide Spanish league title

April 22, 2017
Messi
Real Madrid's scorer Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his side's first goal.
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MADRID (AP):

The two best players in the world will face off again, this time with the Spanish league title on the line.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi meet tomorrow when Real Madrid and Barcelona play their latest clasico.

The outcome at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium could allow Madrid to virtually secure their first league title since 2012, or put Barcelona back in position to win their third consecutive trophy.

A home victory would give Ronaldo's Madrid a three-point lead with five rounds to go and a game in hand. A win by Messi's Barcelona would open up the title race and put the club back in the lead on the head-to-head tiebreaker.

"The world grinds to a halt to watch this game," Madrid left back Marcelo said. "It is huge, every player wants to play it, and people have been talking about it for the past month."

Ronaldo and Messi, the only players voted best in the world over the last nine years, have thrived in clasicos, and enter this one in top form.

Ronaldo has 12 goals in his last 11 matches for club and country, including five goals in the two legs against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Messi wasn't able to help Barcelona overturn their three-goal deficit against Juventus in the last eight of the Champions League, but he has been having one of his best seasons for the club. He has 45 goals in 45 games in all competitions, including six in his last six games. Messi is La Liga's leading scorer with 29, five more than teammate Luis Suarez.

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