Football

Only one current goalkeeper has played Lionel Messi four times and never conceded

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Until recently, Gianluigi Buffon could proudly say he had never conceded a goal against Lionel Messi.

The Italian shot-stopper had faced Messi three times before Barcelona vs Juventus on September 12 and stopped him every time.

But when Juve travelled to the Camp Nou for their group stage game against Barca, Buffon's record tumbled as Messi scored twice in a 3-0 win.

A few days after the defeat, Buffon was asked whether Messi beating him was inevitable, to which he replied: "Messi scoring against me? I won't say it was inevitable.

"But seeing how often he scores, I think having gone four games without conceding against him is a small record.

"When you play against him and see the anger and wickedness with which he makes certain moves or how he shoots at goal, you realise there are categories of players.

"Sometimes we forget about this and then we make the wrong evaluations of other players, thinking they're a big deal.

"Yet when you face the top ones, you really discover that there's still a lot of work for them to reach those high levels."

Very few goalkeepers can say they've kept a handful of clean sheets against Messi, who is arguably the greatest footballer of all time.

Petr Cech is one of them, but after keeping him out for 10 hours and 11 minutes (over six games), the former Chelsea 'keeper finally conceded for Arsenal in February 2016.

However, according to The Sun, there is one goalkeeper who has played four games against Messi and, somewhat miraculously, didn't concede against the Argentine in any of them.

Introducing Rubin Kazan's Sergey Viktorovich Ryzhikov - a 37-year-old Russian who has never conceded to Messi.

Ryzhikov's first clean sheet against Messi came in 2009/10, when Kazan beat Barcelona 2-1 at the Camp Nou in the Champions League group stages. 

Kazan then held Barca to a 0-0 draw in the return fixture.

A year later and Ryzhikov kept two more clean sheets against Messi alone in Europe, with Kazan drawing 1-1 and losing 2-0.

What separates Ryzhikov from the rest - including Cech - is that he's the only current goalkeeper to have played Messi on four occasions and never conceded, which is pretty impressive.

Cech managed to keep out the Argentine in over six games, but now he's conceded, all focus is on Ryzhikov.

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Topics:
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La Liga
Andres Iniesta

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