Petr Čech has yet to concede against Lionel Messi in six meetings; will the Arsenal goalkeeper get the better of Barcelona's most celebrated marksman once more?
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Not many goalkeepers have taken on Lionel Messi over the past 11 years and come out on top, but, as Arsenal prepare to face Barcelona in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, they have one of the few who has in Petr Čech.
In six previous meetings between the pair, all when Čech was at Chelsea, Messi has never beaten the Czech goalkeeper. He has missed penalties, hit the frame of the goal and never quite got over the line – even though Barcelona prevailed in two of the three knockout ties both players featured in.
"It's great," said Čech, whose previous encounters all came in a Chelsea shirt. "Not many can say they've played … against Messi and he hasn't found a way to get past. But if he scores and we progress then it's not really important. If he scores a hat-trick and we go through then I won't mind."
Messi v Čech: Parts I to VI
24/04/2012: Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea
Trailing 2-0 and down to ten men, the visitors hit back with a remarkable rearguard action to reach the final, Fernando Torres sealing it late on. Messi twice hit the woodwork, once from a penalty and then a shot Čech turned onto the upright. The keeper had earlier denied him in a one-on-one.
18/04/2012: Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona
Barcelona had also rattled the woodwork twice in a tense semi-final first leg, through Alexis Sánchez and Pedro Rodríguez, as Didier Drogba struck the only goal. Messi was largely kept quiet by Gary Cahill and friends, with Chelsea limiting him to three shots – only one needed Čech's intervention.
06/05/2009: Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona
Messi was not at his best in the face of constant attention, but he played a huge role in the 93rd-minute goal that sent ten-man Barcelona into the final against Manchester United, squaring for Andrés Iniesta.
28/04/2009: Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea
Čech dropped an early cross but thereafter he was imperious as a determined defensive effort from Chelsea earned a goalless draw in Catalonia. He was the first goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet against Barcelona in 22 matches.
07/03/2006: Barcelona 1-1 Chelsea
Much of the pre-match talk had focused on Chelsea's plans to contain Messi, but the teenager's night ended prematurely when he pulled up clutching his thigh midway through the first half. A Ronaldinho goal confirmed Barcelona's place in the last eight.
22/02/2006: Chelsea 1-2 Barcelona
The first of four scoreless meetings with José Mourinho's side in six months for Messi (Čech would miss two group games in October with a head injury). Messi, then just 18, hit the bar but a John Terry own goal cancelled out Thiago Motta's early slip-up before Samuel Eto'o had the last word.