Cristiano Ronaldo's record-breaking start to the 2014-15 La Liga season continued against Levante on Saturday, and the forward's incredible form will be key for Los Blancos going into their first meeting of the young season with Barcelona.
The Portugal international bagged another brace on Saturday, taking his total to 15 goals from just eight matches. According to the club's official website, the star forward broke a 71-year-old record in the process:
Cristiano Ronaldo rolls on and on. The Portugal star's figures are on another planet, and with his brace at the Ciudad de Valencia he has written his name into the La Liga record books yet again. He has now scored 15 goals in the Spanish top-flight this season, and has become the first player to reach that impressive haul in eight matchdays.
The division's top scorer, who has scored for Madrid in nine straight competitive games, has beaten a record that had stood since the 1943/44 season, when Real Oviedo player Echevarria managed 14 goals.
Fans and pundits are quickly running out of superlatives to use when describing Ronaldo and his current form. The Ballon d'Or winner is simply enjoying a phenomenal season unlike anything we've ever seen.
Former England striker Gary Lineker can't believe the run he's currently on:
Ronaldo's scoring proficiency in 2014-15 defies all logic. At the time of writing, the 29-year-old was outscoring 17 of 20 La Liga clubs on his own, via WhoScored.com. That's not just impressive—it's absurd.
It's not the only impressive statistic we've witnessed after eight weeks of La Liga action, however. Going into Saturday's match against Eibar, league leaders Barcelona weren't just undefeated—they had yet to concede a single goal.
The Blaugrana defence was supposed to be the team's major weakness heading into this campaign. Instead, it has so far been an impregnable wall, shutting down every attacking group it's faced.
And on Sunday, both parties will meet. Ronaldo, the unstoppable force, will meet the Barcelona defence, the immovable object. The former has scored in every single La Liga match so far, via WhoScored. The latter have yet to allow a single goal.
Something will have to give in the first Clasico of the 2014-15 season, and it will likely decide the outcome of the match. Real Madrid are winners of five straight, but the 2014-15 season so far hasn't been just smooth sailing. There have been struggles, but usually, Ronaldo has masked them with his scoring prowess.
James Rodriguez looks like a future superstar, and he's already had a big impact in Madrid. He has also struggled for consistency, something the entire midfield unit has had difficulties with.
It's normal for new arrivals to need time to gel and adapt to their surroundings, and to their credit, Rodriguez and Toni Kroos have done an excellent job doing just that. But they've never played in a Clasico.
As impressive as Los Blancos' form has been, any neutral fan can see Barcelona will go into the Clasico as favourites. The defence looks rock solid, Neymar and Lionel Messi are combining superbly, and Luis Suarez's ban will be over. Freelance football writer Kristian Sturt believes the Uruguayan could even start:
The Blaugrana are a more complete team right now. There are no questions about the team's starting goalkeeper, no issues in the centre of the park and no mysterious illnesses keeping starters out of the squad, via AS's Alvaro De La Rosa.
Real Madrid have one tremendous advantage, however. Ronaldo's scoring has been infectious so far this season. The team has been given a tremendous boost every time he's found the back of the net this season, playing with flair and enthusiasm like only Los Blancos can.
The Catalan defence will be the ultimate test of Ronaldo's scoring form as well as Real's ability to rally around him and win matches. It's the match everyone has been dying to see between two of the most dominant units in football right now.
On one side stands Barcelona's defence in all its might—unscathed and undefeated. And in Week 9, they'll face the most in-form scoring machine the league has ever seen. Fans better buckle up, for this will be one hell of a ride.