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Barcelona v Apoel Nicosia preview – Lionel Messi 6/1 for hat-trick

Paddy Power offer 2/1 about Lionel scoring the first goal of Wednesday night’s game

Messi looking to continue amazing scoring record in Champions League

Lionel Messi is second favourite to be the top scorer in this season’s Champions League and he can steal a march over rival Cristiano Ronaldo by finding the net several times against Apoel on Wednesday night.

Messi boasts a phenomenal 245 goals in 280 games for Barcelona and opened his account against Elche with a brace, although the Argentine was unable to add to his tally against Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao.

Now the 27-year-old will lead the line against Cypriot opponents and it seems heavily likely that Barcelona will begin their Champions League campaign with a victory.

The bookmakers offer a best price 1/14 about a Barca win, with William Hill being the bravest when setting those odds compared to the 1/20 that you can find elsewhere.

Even so, having to stake £14 to make £1 doesn’t seem like the bargain of the season although that man Messi can help land a profit and the bookies have created several bets around the global superstar.

Paddy Power offer 2/1 about Lionel scoring the first goal of Wednesday night’s game, with Messi likely to have several chances against a Nicosia team who are expected to be the whipping boys in the group.

The bookmakers are taking no risks with their 2/5 quote about Messi scoring at any stage of the match, although you can get 6/1 about the Argentine scoring a hat-trick, something he managed to do four times last season.

Barcelona are a 6/1 chance to win this season’s Champions League, which means they are third favourites behind Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

Bookmakers Coral are offering odds of 12/1 that Messi is the top scorer as part of a Barcelona European success and it’s happened before, with the Catalan club sure to feature at the business end of the competition as always.

Barca boss Luis Enrique heaped praise on the forward, with Neymar also staggered by some of the feats that Messi carries off on the training field.

‘Messi is a star. I am improving playing with him,’ said Neymar.

‘He does things in training that I have not even seen… on the PlayStation,’ added Enrique.

‘Messi is the best not only because of his goals but also for his assists. It is a pleasure and a privilege to have him in the team.’

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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