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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ronaldo nets pair in victory

MADRID (AP) Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain scored two goals each to lead Real Madrid over Getafe 4-2 Thursday night and back into the Spanish League lead.

Ronaldo put Madrid ahead with a curling free kick in the 13th minute, and Higuain made it 2-0 in the 20th after running into Rafael Van der Vaart's pass. Higuain scored his 22nd league goal of the season three minutes later off Fernando Gago's long through pass.

Ronaldo increased the lead to 4-0 in the 37th minute, scoring his 17th goal of the season, from a tight angle.

Real Madrid (23-3-2) is tied with Barcelona (22-1-5) at 71 points but is ahead on goal difference.

Daniel Parejo and Pedro Leon scored for Getafe.

In Thursday's other game, eighth-place Atletico Madrid (10-11-7) won 2-0 at home against sixth-place Athletic Bilbao (12-10-6) on goals by Diego Forlan in the 53rd minute and Sergio Aguero in the 86th.

Maradona on Messi

BUENOS AIRES (AP) If any player is to exceed his exploits, Diego Maradona is all for Lionel Messi being the one.

Messi, who plays under Maradona for Argentina, is leading the Spanish League in goals this season. His hat trick for Barcelona on Sunday — his second in eight days — brought comparisons to Maradona, who led Argentina to its second World Cup title in 1986.

"I don't like comparisons," Maradona said on Radio Cooperativa. "But if someone has to surpass me, then let it be an Argentine. If Leo is better, I welcome it."

In a separate radio interview Thursday from Spain, Messi said he was far from Maradona's level.

"Diego is Diego and millions of years can pass and he will still be the greatest in history for me," Messi said. "I intend to have my career, make my mark and get into the record books with things I have done. I'm not trying to be like Maradona."

The 22-year-old Messi has been criticized for failing to play as well for his country as he has for his club. But Maradona was in Europe recently and reassured Messi that he was happy with his play.

"I told him I'm fine with his level of play because his time will come," Maradona said. "He shouldn't take the criticism badly.

Messi will lead Argentina at the World Cup in South Africa and may well flourish as he roams the field.

"I don't believe in fixed positions, much less with Messi," Maradona said. "He has enormous potential and should have the freedom to move to be in contact with the ball."

Messi agreed that he needs to make a better showing with his national team.

"What I want is to perform with that national team as I have with Barcelona," Messi said. "I know I have had good games (with Argentina), but I'm not at the same level as I am with Barcelona. I'm going to try to change that."

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