Messi’s last Champions League game? Barcelona legend’s incredible UCL stats
Lionel Messi may have played the final game of his career for Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
At a cold, empty Parc des Princes in the heart of Paris, it seemed as though the Argentine star was doing his very best to not only turn the tie in his side’s favour but fight time itself and thwart what felt like an inevitable changing of the guards.
Messi would get his goal – an incredible long-range shot into the top left corner of the net – but it came too late. Kylian Mbappe had already scored from the penalty spot to effectively kill the tie and become the youngest ever player to reach 25 goals in the Champions League – another bit of glory he was taking from Messi.
Following Barcelona’s elimination from the tournament and reported expectation that Messi may leave the club when his contract expires in the summer, it may now be an appropriate time to look back at the achievements the forward has racked up since he made his debut in the Champions League 17 seasons ago.
How many goals has Messi scored in the Champions League?
It didn’t take long for Messi to start putting the ball in the back of the net in the Champions League. After his fifth appearance and only his third start, the young Argentine scored his first goal in a group game against Panathinaikos in November 2005.
Since then Messi has gone on to amass an incredible tally of 120 goals in 149 Champions League games for Barcelona. When we break that down into how often he scored in the European competition it works out as a goal every 102 minutes of football.
When we then consider that Messi has also bagged a further 41 assists in that time as well it then suggests that the forward has either scored or created a goal every 77 minutes since he began his career in the Champions League.
Who have been Messi’s toughest Champions League opponents?
As expected, with so many goals over the course of 17 campaigns in the Champions League, Messi has picked up some pretty impressive scalps along the way. The Barcelona star has inflicted a huge amount of grief on a number of clubs in that time.
None more so than Arsenal, who have faced Messi’s Barcelona side six times and watched the forward stick the ball into the back of their net on nine occasions. Serie A giants Milan aren’t much better, having conceded eight goals in eight games against Messi. Then come Celtic (eight goals in six games) and then unfortunate Bayer Leverkusen (seven in just three games).
However, some clubs have managed to keep Messi at bay in European competition over the course of his time at Barcelona.
For example, Messi has only managed three goals in 10 games against Chelsea and just two in six games against both Juventus and Bayern Munich.
And, there are two clubs that have managed to keep Messi from scoring entirely despite numerous games against the world star.
In four games each against Atletico Madrid and Inter, Messi has failed to score a single goal over the course of his career. The Argentine has also failed to score in two games against Rubin Kazan and in one game against Udinese and Benfica.