Lionel Messi strikes past Chelsea: his best and worst opponents – UEFA Champions League – News
Lionel Messi has ended a long wait for his first goal against Chelsea in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie. Which teams has he found the hardest – or easiest – opponents to break down?
• Messi has scored 101 goals in 10,362 minutes of European football; that’s a goal roughly every 102 minutes and 35 seconds.
• The Argentinian has faced 37 different clubs in Europe (from 16 countries), failing to score against six: Atlético Madrid, Benfica, Internazionale Milano, Liverpool, Rubin Kazan and Udinese.
• Chelsea had been the toughest European nut to crack – Messi’s first goal against them came after 730 minutes of football spanning nine games. AC Milan are the side he has played the next most minutes against (eight matches, 720 minutes), and he has struck eight times against them.
• Petr Čech was long considered Messi’s arch-nemesis: the Czech goalkeeper did not concede in 495 minutes of UEFA Champions League football against Messi over six games with Chelsea, though the forward hit the woodwork three times – including once from the penalty spot. However, that myth was debunked when Čech faced Messi with Arsenal in the 2015/16 round of 16, the Barça ace netting three times across two legs.
• The keeper who has gone the longest without conceding against Messi in Europe is Inter’s Júlio César – 270 minutes – though Rubin Kazan’s Sergei Ryzhikov may feel he has the moral right to that title. He has been unbeaten in 237 minutes against Messi; that run took in four matches, as opposed to Júlio César’s three.
• The Blaugrana man has scored more goals against Arsenal than any other team – nine in 447 minutes comprising six games. On average that’s a goal every 49 minutes and 40 seconds.
• His favourite opponents may be Bayer Leverkusen: Messi has notched seven goals in 270 minutes against them, at a rate of one every 38 minutes and 34 seconds. Five of those strikes famously came in one match, a 7-0 win on 7 March 2012.
Who has Messi scored against in UEFA competition?
• Of the big five European footballing nations, German opponents seem to suit Messi best: he scores on average every 70 minutes and 34 seconds against Bundesliga clubs. Goals are much rarer against sides from England (every 124m40s), Italy (136m10s), France (138m51s) and Spain (187m30s).
• Messi may relish Portuguese rearguards least of all; in 478 minutes against Liga teams, he has scored just twice – a goal every 239 minutes.
Which nations’ clubs has Messi scored against?
|Opponents by nationality||Games||Minutes||Goals||Minutes