Soccer-Messi and Aguero go head to head at the Nou Camp

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MADRID, Oct 4 (Reuters) The Primera Liga's two Argentine prodigies, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, will get the chance to pit their skills against each other when Barcelona host Atletico Madrid on Sunday (kickoff 2030 IST).

Barca forward Messi has set the Nou Camp alight with a series of dazzling displays for the Catalans this season, while 19-year-old Atletico striker Aguero has flourished at the Calderon following the close-season departure of Fernando Torres.

The two players, who have inevitably been compared to Argentine great Diego Maradona, share the same small stature, the same name -- Aguero's middle name is Leonel -- and top the Spanish scoring charts with five goals apiece.

''We are always talking to each other and we've been joking about the fact that we are both level on goals because neither of us expected it,'' Aguero told Punto Radio this week.

''Messi is a great player and is only 20, but like me he still has a lot to learn. I would love to play alongside him but he would have to come to Atletico for that to happen.

''It is always good to play against the big teams and if we win the game it will be even better.'' Atletico have a good record against Barcelona at the Nou Camp in recent years, but were demolished 6-0 at the Calderon when the two teams met at the tail-end of last season.

POOR START Javier Aguirre's side got off to a poor start to the new campaign, but have won their last three league matches in a row, scoring eight goals and conceding none, to move up to fifth place in the table.

Barca, who are three points ahead in fourth spot, also started slowly but they too are on a three-match winning streak in the league and new signing Thierry Henry hit form last weekend with a hat-trick in the 4-1 win at Levante.

League leaders Real Madrid, who together with Barca are the only Primera Liga team yet to lose a match, host Recreativo Huelva at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

The defending champions, who were somewhat fortunate to edge a 1-0 victory away to winless Getafe last weekend and hold on to draw 2-2 against Lazio in the Champions League, will be anxious to erase the memory of their 3-0 defeat at home to the Andalucians last season.

Second-placed Villarreal face a tough away fixture at Osasuna on Sunday as they look to maintain their momentum, while regional rivals Valencia try to extend their winning streak to six matches when they host an unpredictable Espanyol at the Mestalla on Saturday.

REUTERS BJR RK1606

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