Much has been made of the fact Lionel Messi has never scored against Chelsea in the build-up to Tuesday’s Champions League clash.
Despite playing against the west London outfit eight times during his illustrious career, the Barcelona superstar has never managed to hit the back of the net.
However, it’s worth remembering that failure to get on the scoresheet doesn’t necessarily equal a poor performance. Messi has still produced some fine performances against Chelsea.
His most notable performance came back in February 2006, when he produced a superb individual display in Barcelona’s 2-1 win at the Bridge.
Messi, who was just 18 at the time, was a constant threat over the course of the 90 minutes and hit the crossbar with a brilliant effort from the edge of the box.
The Argentine forward also produced an exquisite piece of skill against Arjen Robben in the 35th minute which resulted in Asier del Horno receiving a straight red card for a poor challenge moments later.
Messi, who was accused of ‘acting’ by Jose Mourinho after that match, returned to the Bridge three years later for the unforgettable 2008-09 Champions League semi-final second leg.
Andres Iniesta famously scored the goal that sent Barça through to the final in the dying seconds of the match, courtesy of a pass from Messi.
Once again, he’d made an impact despite failing to get himself on the scoresheet.
What happened the last time Messi played at Stamford Bridge
Three years after that, in April 2012, Messi came back to the Bridge for another Champions League semi-final - this time for the first leg.
This is Messi’s most-recent appearance at Chelsea’s home ground - but how did he perform that night?
Pretty well, actually.
Chelsea won the match 1-0, courtesy of a Didier Drogba goal on the stroke of half-time, but Messi was typically bright throughout the match.
A goalless performance gives the impression that he struggled but watch his individual highlights from the match and it’s patently clear that’s not the case…
How the press rated Messi's performance
The Independent handed Messi an 8/10 rating, making him Barça’s best performing player on the night alongside Xavi.
So all this talk that Messi has always struggled at Stamford Bridge is, quite frankly, nonsense.
Don’t be surprised if he finally breaks his duck on Tuesday evening.
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