Two former Manchester United strikers will go into battle in tomorrow night's Madrid derby at the Bernabeu – one having scored 10 goals in his last five games and the other not having scored since 11 September.
Cristiano Ronaldo, of Real Madrid, is Spain's top scorer with 13 goals in all competitions and, having hit 10 in five games, is now chasing a club record set by Puskas who scored 13 goals in seven matches in the 1960-61 season. Ronaldo is also on a roll of 38 goals in his last 38 games in La Liga while his opposite number in the Atletico Madrid side, Diego Forlan, has gone almost two months without hitting the back of the net leading to suggestions he may be allowed to move on at the end of the season.
Forlan said: "It's only normal that when you are not scoring people start to question you but I have a contract here and until there is something concrete then these are just rumours."
Forlan, who shared one season with Ronaldo at Old Trafford, hopes playing the local rivals will change his luck – fortune being something Atletico have not had much of in 11 years of derby-day misery.
Their last win against their city rivals came in 1999 with Claudio Ranieri leading them to victory over John Toshack's Real side. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who had joined the club from Leeds and was later sold to Chelsea, scored twice in the win in what was still a relegation season for the victors.
Since then they have lost 11 matches against their bitter rivals and drawn six. If they win tomorrow they will not only break that 11-year record but smash an eight-year unbeaten run for Jose Mourinho in the process. The Real Madrid manager has not lost a home game since 23 February 2002 when Beira Mar beat Porto in what was his sixth game in charge of the club. "I feel we have more of a chance of winning something now that he is here," said Ronaldo of his coach, and added: "I'm convinced that this year will be different to the last."
Last year's coach, Manuel Pellegrini, is back in Spanish football having been given the job of leading big-spending Malaga out of the relegation zone. Pellegrini was interviewed for the Liverpool position after Rafa Benitez's departure in the summer, with the club opting for Roy Hodgson. He finds himself working for Malaga owner Sheikh Abdullah al-Thani who fired Jesualdo Ferreira this week.
Barcelona midfielder Xavi said he has no intention of quitting international football despite the niggling achilles injury that has troubled him this season. It has been suggested that he might copy former England international Paul Scholes by withdrawing from the national side to concentrate on his club.
But Xavi said: "Anyone who doubts my commitment to the national side should take note – I plan to play on until the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil." Barcelona face Getafe tomorrow night and have the chance to go top if Atletico can make history by beating Mourinho and ending their derby jinx.Reuse content