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Spanish football expert and tipster Phil Kitromilides assesses this high-profile battle and is backing the Argentine superstar to score at the Bernabeu in Copa semi-final first leg

Within the wider context of an El Clasico match there is also the sub plot of two brilliant talents squaring off against one another. Some believe that the rivalry between the world's two best players is a question of the likeable Lionel Messi against the arrogant Cristiano Ronaldo, but this would be too simple a conclusion to draw.

Messi will want to maintain his status as the best player in the world under the thunderous pressure from his Portuguese rival. Arrogance is a part of brilliance and Messi possesses both in abundance, of that there is little doubt. The Argentine forward picked up his third consecutive Ballon d'Or award earlier this month and is already favourite to claim the prize in 2013.

Wednesday's fourth Clasico of the season is a chance not only for Real Madrid or Barca to take a huge step towards winnning the Copa del Rey but also for Messi and Ronaldo to attempt to outdo one another.

Last season in Spain, Ronaldo won the Pichichi award for top goalscorer, but Messi won the medals claiming a La Liga title and the Champions League with Barcelona. 

Both players are priced as odds-on to get on the scoresheet in this game, Messi is 19/20 (1.95) while Ronaldo is priced at 1.9 (9/10) both with Bet365. Although these prices may look slight, Messi's impressive scoring record in recent games between the two means his price could prove a solid investment.

Last month's 3-1 win for Barca in the Bernabeu was notable for Ronaldo's lacklustre performance and that was not the first time he has failed to shine against the Catalan giants.

The Portuguese striker, who leads the domestic scoring charts with 21 league goals, is priced at 7/2 (4.5) with Bet365 to open the scoring. More ambitious punters can get 18/1 (19.0) on him to score a hatrick albeit his scoring record against the Catalans is suprisingly poor. 

Messi, meanwhile, is available at 15/4 (4.75) to break the deadlock and with six goals in his last seven games against Madrid would appear to be a better bet, despite trailing Ronaldo in the La Liga goal-scoring standings over the course of the season to date. He is also available at 9/2 (5.5) to score two or more.

Tip: Lionel Messi to score anytime at 19/20 (1.95) with Bet365

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Phil Kitromilides is a professional sports broadcaster working on radio and TV in London and Madrid, you can also follow Phil on