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.


Čech v Messi: the Chelsea years

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.

Júlio César: Messi's ultimate adversary?


Júlio César: Messi’s ultimate adversary?©Getty Images

• 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?

Opponents
by club
Games Minutes Goals Minutes
per goal
AC Milan 8 720 8 90m
APOEL 2 180 3 60m
Ajax 3 247 6 41m10s
Arsenal 6 447 9 49m40s
Atlético 4 360
Basel 2 120 2 60m
BATE 1 90 2 45m
Bayern 5 450 4 112m30s
Benfica 2 122
Bremen 2 49 1 49m
Celtic 6 488 8 61m
Chelsea 9 745 1 745m
Dynamo Kyiv 2 180 2 90m
Internazionale 3 270
Juventus 5 394 2 197m
København     2 180 3 60m
Leverkusen 3 270 7 38m34s
Liverpool 2 180
Lyon 4 358 3 119m20s
Manchester City 6 540 6 90m
Manchester United      4 332 2 166m
Mönchengladbach 1 90 1 90m
Olympiacos 2 180 1 180m
Panathinaikos 4 293 4 73m25s
Paris 8 614 4 153m30s
Plzeň 2 180 3 60m
Porto 1 90 1 90m
Rangers 2 180 1 180m
Real Madrid        2 180 2 90m
Roma 2 180 2 90m
Rubin Kazan 4 237
Sevilla 2 210 2 105m
Shakhtar 5 420 3 140m
Spartak Moskva 2 180 4 45m
Sporting CP 4 266 1 266m
Stuttgart 3 270 3 90m
Udinese 1 70
TOTAL 126 10362 101 102m35s

• 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
per goal
Belarus 1 90 2 45m
Cyprus 2 180 3 60m
Czech Republic 2 180 3 60m
Denmark 2 180 3 60m
England 27 2244 18 124m40s
France 12 972 7 138m51s
Germany 14 1129 16 70m34s
Greece 6 473 5 94m36s
Italy 19 1634 12 136m10s
Netherlands 3 247 6 41m10s
Portugal 7 478 2 239m
Russia 6 417 4 104m15s
Scotland 8 668 9 74m20s
Spain 8 750 4 187m30s
Switzerland 2 120 2 60m
Ukraine 7 600 5 120m
TOTAL 126 10362 101 102m35s

Source link