Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo, Bale Watch: Two Goals, Two Injuries and Six Points

Samuel MarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2013

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Saturday brought 16 goals among La Liga's top three as Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid dished out hammerings to Granada, Getafe and Almeria respectively. But how many goals did the big four tally?

Barcelona were first up, but Lionel Messi and Neymar didn't score any of the four goals they put past Granada at Camp Nou.

Messi was on the pitch before the game to flaunt his European Golden Shoe awardwhich he has now won on three occasions in his career. But his injury meant he then had to retreat to the stands in his beanie hat, watching from there.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona poses the Golden Boot for scoring 46 goals last season prior to the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Granda CF at Camp Nou on November 23, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos
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Without his Argentinean, Gerardo Martino went with Neymar through the middle.

But despite Barca's four goals coming from four different scorers, Neymar, who was flanked by Pedro and Alexis Sanchez, did not add to his total of five in 18 appearances this season.

He was involved in a couple of La Blaugrana's goals, though.

The Brazilian's ball fed Cesc Fabregas, who was fouled for a penalty which was dispatched by Andres Iniesta in the first half.

And when Alexis Sanchez eventually killed off the Granada challenge in the second half, it was Neymar who played the pass to end a clinical Barca break, moments after Allan Nyom could have pulled a goal back for the visitors.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23:  Alexis Sanchez (L) of FC Barcelona celebrates with his teammate Neymar after scoring his team's third goal from during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Granda CF at Camp Nou on November 23, 2013 in Barcelona, Spa
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It was Neymar's eighth assist in La Liga this season—nobody has moreand his ninth in all competitions since his summer move from Santos, via

Players who have been in the goals recently are Real Madrid's front three: Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

In Andalusia on Saturday night all three were again on target, although there were reasons for Ronaldo and Bale not to be completely happy after Madrid's 5-0 win over Almeria.

Fresh from his latest assault on the Ballon d'Or in midweek with Portugal, it took Ronaldo just under three minutes to open the scoring at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos.

via B/R

By the time he scored, he already had three shots on goal.

By half-time he had eight, but Madrid led only 1-0 at the break.

Ronaldo wasn't to shoot again. He left the pitch injured in the early stages of the second period. The injury has been played down, though.

As for the world's most expensive player, Bale added Madrid's third, but it wasn't a particularly satisfactory evening in front of goal for the Welshman.

Who Scored statistics reveal he had 10 shots during the match, with only three hitting the target—one miss at the far post, which he fired over, from a Dani Carvajal pass was particularly galling.

via B/R

As ever his pace caused problems though, and the goal, which eventually came as Almeria crumbled, will continue the ascent of his confidence which has developed in recent weeks.

It means at the end of week 14, Ronaldo (17 goals and three assists) and Bale (four, five) lead Messi (eight, four) and Neymar (four, eight) by five in terms of direct contributions to goals in La Liga so far this season.