The battle to be 2014/15 Champions League top-scorer has the kind of unusually open look to it that will have any punter worth their salt scenting an angle.
Luiz Adriano of Shakhtar leads the way on nine goals after the first leg of the Ukrainians’ round-of-16 tie against FC Bayern Munchen.
Lionel Messi trails him by a single strike and heads the betting at 23/20, with Cristiano Ronaldo next in the market at 5/2 despite having netted just five times.
Yet both the Brazilian and Messi – along with Paris Saint-Germain hitman Edinson Cavani – will ultimately be overhauled by CR7.
Madrid’s Madeiran man-mountain must be backed before another ball is kicked.
He’s about to face Schalke
The Germans were steamrollered 9-2 on aggregate by Ronaldo’s Real side at this juncture last term and represent an excellent opportunity for him to claw back some goals on his rivals.
He struck four times (twice in each match) over the two legs last term and is as short as 2/1 to bag a brace at the very least in Gelsenkirchen.
Luiz Adriano will be exiting the competition this time two weeks
FC Bayern Munchen are a miniscule 1/20 to eliminate the current top gun’s Shakhtar team from the tournament after their first-leg draw in Ukraine.
Having plundered eight of his nine goals in two games against BATE Borisov, there had been little guarantee he would keep up his strike rate against superior foes anyhow.
Barcelona are far from guaranteed to advance against Manchester City
Messi’s men have a far tougher last-16 assignment than Ronaldo’s Real.
The Citizens were far from outclassed against the Catalans last term, despite having defenders sent off in both legs.
Having beaten Bayern twice in the last two seasons a Messi-axing upset can’t be ruled out.
Ronaldo can equal Messi if topping the Champions League charts
Being considered the best there is remains an all-consuming passion for the Portuguese and to that end matching then surpassing the Argentine is always necessary.
Having top-scored the competition on three occasions, the Portuguese is on a level pegging with Gerd Muller, Jean-Pierre Papin and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
However, Messi is currently out ahead on his own having finished top of the heap in four seasons.