Ever since his professional debut in 2004, Lionel Messi has never failed to amaze the football fraternity with his superhuman sporting skills. His contribution to Barcelona‘s unparalleled success in the 2010s has been invaluable, to say the least. To put things in perspective, the last time the Blaugrana participated in the Europa League was in the 2003-04 season, a year before Messi’s debut, before reentering the competition just months after his departure. The UEFA Champions League maestro has bossed the most prestigious European competition throughout his career, toying with his oppositions on most occasions. On that note, let’s take a look at the 5 teams; Lionel Messi has scored the most against in the Champions League.
5. Manchester City – 7 goals
Manchester City is the only club to feature on this list against whom Lionel Messi has scored in a PSG shirt. The creative wizard has an impressive goal tally against the English giants, scoring seven and laying down three assists in eight encounters with the Sky Blues. Barring one strike, all of Messi’s goal contributions against the current Premier League champions have come in a Blaugrana shirt, including a stunning hat-trick in the 2016-17 Champions League group stage. The Rosario-born forward has notched up six wins in these meetings, giving him the edge over Pep Guardiola’s men.
4. Bayer Leverkusen – 7 goals
Despite having played just three games against Bayer Leverkusen in the entirety of his Champions League career, Lionel Messi has one of the most memorable moments of his career against the Eternal Bridesmaids. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner famously scored a whopping five goals in a single match against Bayer Leverkusen, undoubtedly humiliating the German outfit in the 2011-12 season. Messi has one goal apiece in the remaining two appearances.
3. AC Milan – 8 goals
Another elite team that has suffered the wrath of Lionel Messi in the Champions League, AC Milan, have a track record of faltering against the Argentinian. Playing for boyhood club Barcelona, Messi faced the Rossoneri eight times. The fans’ bitter memories of failing to grab a single win against the Blaugrana in the 2011-12 Champions League season worsened the next year when Messi miraculously overturned a 2-0 deficit, scoring two to eliminate Milan in the Round of 16 stages. A one-sided rivalry indeed.
2. Celtic – 8 goals
Aside from that infamous group-stage loss to Celtic of 2012, Barcelona and Lionel Messi have completely dominated proceedings against the Scottish club. In six meetings with the Hoops, Messi has come out on top on five occasions, with eight goals scored in those matches. While he did score five goals in his last two matches against Celtic, the prolific forward is yet to face them again after 2016.
1. Arsenal – 9 goals
Despite playing most of his professional career in Spanish La Liga, Lionel Messi has an impeccable record against English teams. This statement is readily proven through his goal tally against Arsenal in the Champions League, spanning nine goals in just six outings. Amazingly, the little maestro scored a whopping four goals in a single match against the Gunners in 2010 to eliminate them from the competition. The Argentinian would go on to knock Arsenal out two more times in the future, handing them comprehensive defeats in 2011 and 2016, respectively.