High anticipation ahead of duel between Messi and Aguero


Madrid : Most Spanish football fans cannot wait for Sunday to arrive.

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That is when Barcelona will be trying to beat Atletico Madrid at home-and when Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero will be in competition.

The Argentine youngsters have taken the Spanish Primera Liga by storm this season, topping the scorers’ chart with five goals apiece and replacing Ronaldinho and Fernando Torres as the new idols at their respective clubs.

The 20-year-old Messi tried to play down all the talk of a duel with Aguero Wednesday night.

“Sunday’s game will not just be about me and Sergio,” he told Cadena SER, “but about two good teams in excellent form.”

Atletico have not lost in the Camp Nou for four seasons and will return there in good heart.

Barca, however, have won their last five matches and have Ronaldinho fit again, linking up in attack with Messi and Thierry Henry.

On the other hand, Barca will be without Gianluca Zambrotta, Rafa Marquez, Yaya Toure and Samuel Eto’o, provoking an intense debate in the Catalan media about the causes of so many muscle injuries.

Barca are fourth at the moment, with 14 points from six games, Atletico are fifth with 11.

Sunday La Liga leaders Real Madrid will be at home to Recreativo Huelva, who won 3-0 in the Santiago Bernabeu last season.

Real will probably again be without Pepe, Christoph Metzelder and Arjen Robben, though Ruud van Nistelrooy is back to fitness-as he proved against Lazio Wednesday.

Real have 16 points-their best start since 1991 — one point more than Villarreal and Valencia.

Also Sunday, Villarreal are away to tough Osasuna, Valencia are at home to Espanyol in the only match scheduled for Saturday.

The Mestalla faithful are not pleased with the way Valencia were turned over by Chelsea Wednesday, and-unless they take an early lead against Espanyol-the whistling and booing will be ringing in their ears once again.

“I hope the fans help us Saturday,” said Valencia veteran Ruben Baraja after the Chelsea meltdown, “instead of criticising us again”.

The weekend’s other matches are: Zaragoza-Levante, Athletic Bilbao-Almeria, Murcia-Betis, Mallorca-Getafe, Sevilla-Deportivo la Coruna and Racing Santander-Valladolid.