What teams bring out the killer in Lionel Messi? Which teams are his kryptonite?
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Lionel Messi has played 164 European games over the years for Barcelona and now Paris Saint-Germain, all in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup, scoring 132 goals in meetings with 46 different clubs. Does he enjoy facing some teams more than others?
• Messi has scored 132 goals in 13,735 minutes of European football; that's a goal every 104 minutes and three seconds on average.
• The Argentinian has faced 46 different clubs in Europe (from 19 countries), failing to score against only four: Atlético, Inter, Rubin Kazan and Udinese. 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 encountered ten times in Europe with Barcelona were his current 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 went unbeaten in 237 minutes against Messi; that run took in four matches as opposed to Júlio César's three.
• Messi has scored more goals against Arsenal than any other team in UEFA competition – nine in 537 minutes comprising six games. On average, that's a goal every 59 minutes and 40 seconds.
• His 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 club||Games||Minutes||Goals||Minutes per goal|
Which nations' clubs has Messi scored against?
• Of the big five European footballing nations, German opponents seem to suit Messi best: he scores on average every 75 minutes against Bundesliga clubs. Goals are much rarer against sides from England (every 114 minutes), France (121 minutes), Italy (167 minutes) and Spain (232 minutes).
• Messi may relish Portuguese defences least of all; in 559 minutes against Liga teams, he has scored just three times – a goal every 186 minutes.
• Messi's goal against Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa on Matchday 2 of the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League was his first against a club from that country in his first game.
|Opponents by nationality||Games||Minutes||Goals||Minutes per goal|
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.
Last updated 25/10/2022