The Portugal star was at his devastating best in midweek as he made short work of Barcelona's high defensive line with a virtuoso display of counter-attacking football. Ronaldo will look to extend his excellent run of form against Barcelona, against whom he has now scored nine times in his last eight appearances.
Barcelona's leading scorer was again a peripheral figure in Tuesday's Clasico after a similarly ineffectual display in the Champions League loss at AC Milan. With Barca appearing uncharacteristically jaded and devoid of inspiration, they will look to Messi to lead a revival in fortunes ahead of the all-important return leg against Milan.
Real Madrid's confidence will be sky-high after dispatching their arch-rivals with ease in the Copa del Rey, but this Liga clash is merely a distraction before the serious business of Tuesday's visit to Old Trafford. A blistering start to the season under Tito Vilanova promised so much for Barcelona, but they will need to buck up their ideas quickly to prevent their campaign from petering out.