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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?

Which sides have given Lionel Messi the sternest resistance?
Which sides have given Lionel Messi the sternest resistance? Getty Images

Lionel Messi has scored well over 100 UEFA Champions League goals, but does he enjoy meeting some teams more than others?

MESSI AND RONALDO GOAL FOR GOAL

• Messi has scored 117 goals in 11,950 minutes of European football; that's a goal every 102 minutes and eight seconds.

Watch 100 Lionel Messi goals
Watch 100 Lionel Messi goals

• The Argentinian has faced 42 different clubs in Europe (from 16 countries), failing to score against six: Atlético Madrid, Benfica, Internazionale Milano, Napoli, Rubin Kazan and Udinese.

• His goal against Dortmund on 27 November 2019 meant Messi has scored versus a record 36 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 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 look to be 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
Bayern54504112m30s
Benfica2122--
Bremen249149m
Celtic6488861m
Chelsea108353278m20s
Dortmund21211121m
Dynamo Kyiv2180290m
Inter Milan4360--
Juventus53942197m
Copenhagen2180360m
Leverkusen3270738m34s
Liverpool43602180m
Lyon65385107m36s
Manchester City6540690m
Manchester United45124128m
Mönchengladbach190190m
Napoli190--
Olympiacos21801180m
Panathinaikos4293473m25s
Paris86144153m30s
Plzeň2180360m
Porto190190m
PSV2180445m
Rangers21801180m
Real Madrid2180290m
Roma43602180m
Rubin Kazan4237--
Sevilla22102105m
Shakhtar54203140m
Sparta Praha21801180m
Spartak Moskva2180445m
Sporting CP42661266m
Stuttgart3270390m
Tottenham2117258m30s
Udinese170--
TOTAL14511950117102m8s

• 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 (128 minutes), Italy (166 minutes 10 seconds) and Spain (187 minutes 30 seconds).

• 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 nationalityGamesMinutesGoalsMinutes per goal
Belarus190245m
Cyprus2180360m
Czech Republic4360490m
Denmark2180360m
England34281126101m12s
France1411529128m
Germany1612501773m32s
Greece6473594m36s
Italy23199412166m10s
Netherlands54271042m42s
Portugal74782239m
Russia64174105m15s
Scotland8668974m20s
Spain87504187m30s
Switzerland2120260m
Ukraine76005120m
TOTAL14511950117102m8s

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 velocity in the final minutes, 14 goals between the 86th minute and the final whistle.

• Messi has scored 12 penalties in UEFA competition but failed to find the target with three; two saved (v Panathinaikos, September 2010, and v Manchester City, February 2015) and one against the crossbar (v Chelsea, April 2012).

TimeGoals (penalties)
0-107
11-2014 (2)
21-3013 (2)
31-4015 (1)
41-half-time9 (1)
FIRST HALF58
46-557 (2)
56-6514 (2)
66-7511 (1)
76-8513 (1)
86-full-time14
SECOND HALF59
TOTAL117

Last updated 29/04/20

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