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The continent's top strikers will no doubt be among the goals when the domestic football season resumes. Willie Duncan is backing Barcelona's star to reign supreme again

With not long to go until the domestic football season kicks off across Europe, there are plenty of excellent betting opportunities for those looking to make a profit from this year's plethora of ante-post markets.

Top goalscorer markets always prove popular with punters and Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has opened a particularly interesting market in their mythical specials section on who will be the top domestic scorer in the season ahead.

The market, of course, is dominated by two goalscoring giants from Spain's La Liga – Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Lionel Messi of Barcelona.

Ronaldo, who has scored an incredible 112 goals in 101 appearances for Los Blancos and hit 46 goals for his side in the league last season. Subsequently, he has been chalked up at 15/8 (2.88) with Paddy Power to be Europe's top league scorer in the upcoming season.

Ronaldo's domestic efforts, though, were surpassed by Barcelona's sensation Messi.

The diminutive Argentine striker hit 50 goals in 37 appearances for Barca last term and, having shown that he is in fine form this pre-season with yet another hat-trick, looks to be excellent value with Paddy Power making Messi 2/1 (3.0) to be the top domestic scorer in 2012/13.

David Villa's season was cut short last year by a leg break, which kept the Barca striker from participating in Spain's ultimately successful Euro 2012 campaign, and he can be backed at 12/1 (13.0) with Paddy Power to bounce back here by becoming Europe's top domestic marksman.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid's French star, Karim Benzema, who endured a disappointing Euro 2012, is rated as a 20/1 (21.0) shot with the same firm.

Closer to home, Celtic's Gary Hooper, who was the Scottish Premier League's top scorer last term with 24 goals is rated as a 16/1 (17.0) shot with Paddy Power. Despite the loss of Rangers from the SPL, it would surely require a superhuman effort to overhaul Ronaldo and Messi. The same applies to Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, who is a 20/1 (21.0) shot with Paddy Power after his 23 goals helped Roberto Mancini's side to the English Premier League title last season.

The market looks to be a two-horse race, and Lionel Messi, at 2/1 (3.0) with Paddy Power, is fine value to retain his crown as the top domestic scorer in Europe once again in the forthcoming season.

This market can be found in the "mythical specials" section of Paddy Power's football offering.

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Lionel Messi to be top domestic scorer at 2/1 (3.0) with Paddy Power

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter

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