As Lionel Messi saw the back of net in the second leg of Barcelona’s Round of 16 tie against Napoli in UEFA Champions League on Saturday, he extended his record of scoring against 35 different teams in Europe’s premier club competition.
Messi has scored against teams from Germany, Spain, France, England, Italy, Portugal and even Belarus, Cyprus, Denmark and Ukraine. In fact, of the forty teams that the Argentine veteran has played against over the years in the Champions League, only five (Rubin Kazan, Atlético Madrid, Benfica, Udinese and Inter Milan) have escaped unharmed.
English Premier League club Arsenal have been the worst sufferer of Messi’s wrath with the six-time Ballon D’Or winner scoring nine goals in six games, followed by AC Milan and Celtic (8 each).
Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul González are joint second in the list with goals against 33 teams each, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Karim Benzema are joint third with 29 victims each.
Meanwhile, Messi on Saturday inspired Barcelona to a 3-1 win over Napoli as the Catalan giants move to the quarterfinals of the ongoing Champions League with an aggregate scoreline of 4-2.
Messi was the star of the show with one of the best goals of the season, while Clement Lenglet and Luiz Suarez scored the other two goals for Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Lorenzo Insigne had restored some pride for the visitors.
13 minutes after Lenglet had put Barcelona ahead, Suarez provided Messi with a delivery. The latter dribbled past four Napoli defenders from outside the box. On his way to the inside, a challenge from the defenders saw him falling on the ground. But Messi managed to get up and took an aim at the far corner of the net, while making sure the Napoli players didn’t take the ball away from him.
As the ball curled its way into the net, the Napoli players were left in utter disbelief. The 33-year-old was in the heart of the matter again and earned a penalty after Kalidou Koluliably made an unsuccessful attempt at stopping Messi inside his own box. Suarez successfully scored from the 12 yards box.