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Who are Lionel Messi's favourite opponents?

What teams bring out the killer in Lionel Messi? Which teams are his kryptonite?

Lionel Messi is up to 123 goals in UEFA competitions
Lionel Messi is up to 123 goals in UEFA competitions Getty Images

Lionel Messi's 123 European goals for Barcelona is a UEFA club competition single-club record and even if his departure for Paris Saint-Germain means he will not be adding to that tally, it is a record likely to stand for a long time to come.

In his 153 European games for the Blaugrana in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup he met 43 different clubs. Does he enjoy meeting some teams more than others?

Messi and Ronaldo goal for goal


• Messi has scored 123 goals in 12,490 minutes of European football; that's a goal every 101 minutes and 33 seconds.

Watch 100 Lionel Messi goals
Watch 100 Lionel Messi goals

• The Argentinian has faced 43 different clubs in Europe (from 17 countries), failing to score against five: Atlético Madrid, Benfica, Internazionale Milano, Rubin Kazan and Udinese.

• His goal against Ferencváros on 20 October 2020 meant Messi has scored against a record 39 clubs in the competition.

• Atlético and Inter are the sides Messi has gone longest without scoring against: 360 minutes in UEFA competition.

• Chelsea are the team Messi has played the most minutes against (835 across ten matches); he did not score in his first 730 minutes facing the Blues, but struck three times in two games against them in 2017/18.

• The only other team he faced ten times in Europe with Barcelona were his new club Paris, totalling six goals over 794 minutes.

• 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.

Watch Messi's Champions League debut
Watch Messi's Champions League debut

• Messi has scored more goals against Arsenal than any other team in UEFA competition – nine in 447 minutes comprising six games. On average, that's a goal every 49 minutes and 40 seconds.

• The Blaugrana man's most amenable opponents are Bayer Leverkusen: Messi has hit 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 7-1 win on 7 March 2012.

Who has Messi scored against in UEFA competition?

Opponents by clubGamesMinutesGoalsMinutes per goal
AC Milan8720890m
APOEL2180360m
Ajax3247641m10s
Arsenal6447949m40s
Atlético4360--
Basel2120260m
BATE190245m
Bayern65404135m
Benfica2122--
Bremen249149m
Celtic6488861m
Chelsea108353278m20s
Copenhagen2180360m
Dortmund21211121m
Dynamo Kyiv3270390m
Ferencváros190190m
Inter 4360--
Juventus75743191m20s
Leverkusen3270738m34s
Liverpool43602180m
Lyon65385107m36s
Manchester City6540690m
Manchester United65124128m
Mönchengladbach190190m
Napoli21801180m
Olympiacos21801180m
Panathinaikos4293473m25s
Paris107946132m20s
Plzeň2180360m
Porto190190m
PSV2180445m
Rangers21801180m
Real Madrid2180290m
Roma43602180m
Rubin Kazan4237--
Sevilla22102105m
Shakhtar54203140m
Slavia Praha21801180m
Spartak Moskva2180445m
Sporting CP42661266m
Stuttgart3270390m
Tottenham2117258m30s
Udinese170--
TOTAL15312490123101m33s

• Of the big five European footballing nations, German opponents seem to suit Messi best: he scores on average every 73 minutes and 32 seconds against Bundesliga clubs. Goals are much rarer against sides from England (every 101 minutes 12 seconds), France (121 minutes 5 seconds), Italy (155 minutes 17 seconds) and Spain (187 minutes 30 seconds).

• Messi may relish Portuguese defences 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 nationalityGamesMinutesGoalsMinutes per goal
Belarus190245m
Cyprus2180360m
Czech Republic4360490m
Denmark2180360m
England34281126101m12s
France16133211121m5s
Germany1713401778m49s
Greece6473594m36s
Hungary190190m
Italy26226414161m43s
Netherlands54271042m42s
Portugal74782239m
Russia64174105m15s
Scotland8668974m20s
Spain87504187m30s
Switzerland2120260m
Ukraine86906115m
TOTAL15312490123101m33s

When Messi has scored his UEFA club competition goals

• Messi is relatively slow to get started after the whistle; his least prolific scoring periods are at the start of either half. By contrast, he seems to hit something of a critical goalscoring mass in the closing stages: 15 goals between the 86th minute and the final whistle.

TimeGoals (penalties)
0-108 (1)
11-2014 (2)
21-3016 (4)
31-4016 (1)
41-half-time9 (1)
FIRST HALF63
46-557 (2)
56-6514 (2)
66-7511 (1)
76-8513 (1)
86-full-time15 (1)
SECOND HALF60
TOTAL123

Last updated 10/08/2021