What Lionel Messi said about Chelsea before 2006 Champions League tie

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The Champions League last 16 draw has thrown up three juicy ties.

Juventus will take on Tottenham for a place in the quarter-final, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain will do battle and Chelsea will go up against Barcelona.

Football fans couldn’t have asked for better.

Cristiano Ronaldo against Neymar is sure to be an absorbing contest. Both Real Madrid and PSG view themselves as potential winners of the tournament, but one team will have to leave prematurely.

Meanwhile, Chelsea and Barcelona will continue their duel as they bid for a place in the final eight.

The two clubs have featured in some memorable Champions League encounters over the years. Who can forget their last 16 encounter in 2005, when John Terry’s late header at the Bridge secured a 5-4 aggregate win?

Or the semi-final contest in 2012, when Fernando Torres booked Chelsea’s place in the final with a late equaliser at the Camp Nou?

Here’s hoping we get another similar meeting.

Chelsea's Spanish forward Fernando Torre

Chelsea fans have spent the day bringing up the fact that Lionel Messi has never scored against the Blues in eight appearances.

Yet there’s every chance he breaks that streak when the clubs meet on February 20 and March 14.

What Messi said about Chelsea in 2006

As soon as the draw was made, Messi’s quotes about Chelsea from 2006 quickly surfaced.

The Argentinian made them before Barcelona played Chelsea in the knockout stage 11 years ago. And they were brilliant.

"There are players here who hate Chelsea more than Real Madrid," Messi told the News of the World, per Sky Sports.

"I never thought I would hear myself say that.

"I also never thought I would see something worse than the Boca and River Plate rivalry or Brazil v Argentina - but this is.

"We would rather play Arsenal, Manchester United or anyone else than be on the pitch with Chelsea."

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel M

Remember, this fixture came a year after Barcelona’s acrimonious encounter against the Blues, then managed by Jose Mourinho.

In the first leg, which finished 2-1 to Barcelona, Didier Drogba was harshly sent off for a challenge on Victor Valdes.

And then-Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard had to be restrained as a fracas erupted near the tunnel in the return fixture.

Tensions run deep between the teams and Messi would love nothing more than to score against the reigning Premier League giants when they meet.

Villarreal v Barcelona - La Liga

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La Liga
UEFA Champions League
Premier League
Fernando Torres
Lionel Messi
Didier Drogba

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