Rarely a game goes by without Lionel Messi breaking some sort of record, and Wednesday’s Champions League game against Arsenal was another landmark night.
The Argentine’s goal in the 88th minute was his ninth against Arsenal in the European Cup. Rather depressingly for the Gunners, Messi has only made six appearances against them.
The goal means no other player in Champions League history has scored more times against a single opponent.
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The stat was brought to our attention by Goal and shows just how big a thorn Messi has been for Arsenal over the years.
He made his first appearance for them in 2010 - he missed the 2006 Champions League final due to a muscle injury - but failed to find the target in the first leg of their quarter-final tie.
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But Arsenal were wrongly mistaken if they thought they were to become the 28-year-old’s bogey team.
In the return leg at the Camp Nou, Messi hit four goals in a rampant performance.
He scored a brace against them a year later - in the second leg of their last-16 meeting - before scoring three times in their two recent meetings.
Barca will face Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals
Messi’s delightful chip followed goals from Neymar and Luis Suarez as Barcelona sealed their place in the quarter-finals with a 5-1 aggregate win.
The tie won’t have made for pleasant viewing for Atletico Madrid - they were drawn against the Spanish champions in today’s last-eight draw - and Diego Simeone will no doubt dread the thought of coming up against Barca’s deadly attack.
‘MSN’ have scored 106 goals combined this season and Wenger said after watching his team lose that Barcelona’s front three are capable of transforming “normal life into art”.
“We created plenty of dangerous situations but we couldn’t take the chance,” the Frenchman said, per The Guardian. “As well, Barcelona going forward, the accuracy of their passing, especially Messi, is exceptional.
“Over 90 minutes he didn’t miss one first touch. At some point in sport you have to admire art. They have two or three players who transform normal life into art and I respect that. Of course, for me it’s suffering but it’s exceptional.”
Is MSN the best?
The debate of where MSN ranks among the greatest attacking trios in football history will rage on for years but Messi is arguably the best to ever do it, and he hasn’t had a better supporting cast than Neymar and Suarez.
Those to line up alongside Messi are Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry and Eto’o and Alexis Sanchez and Pedro. Ask the Argentine to name his favourite duo and he would have a hard time not saying the current pair.
Though Arsenal are out of the Champions League, they will be delighted to see the back of Messi. At least until next year.