Lionel Messi ran less than any other outfield player during Arsenal v Barcelona

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Lionel Messi was the difference in the Champions League on Tuesday when his Barcelona side went to the Emirates and beat Arsenal 2-0.

The Argentine scored two second-half goals which has almost guaranteed the Catalan club’s progression into the last eight of the competition.

However, Spanish newspaper Sport have revealed fascinating statistics surrounding the clash in north London.

The paper produced a chart showing the distance that each Barca player covered during the 90 minutes.

Unsurprisingly, the midfield trio of Sergio Busquests, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta led the way as they participated in an intriguing midfield battle with Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin and Mesut Ozil.

So, which outfield player covered the least amount of ground? Surely one of the central defenders, Gerard Pique or Javier Mascherano?

Nope. It was the match-winner, Messi.

The superstar ran just 8.4 kilometres against Arsenal, with the next least being Mascherano who completed 9.2 kilometres.

The same newspaper produced a brilliant front cover after discovering these statistics which said: “Walking is for geniuses.”

It’s highly unlikely that anyone associated with Barcelona will be either surprised, or worried, about this statistic.

Messi is able to produce moments of magic, simply, because he still has plenty of energy left. He doesn’t needlessly run around, tiring himself out because his teammates do that for him.

Teammates to thank

Luis Suarez and Neymar may hit the headlines for all their goals but they allow the Argentinean to conserve his energy during matches.

Luis Suarez is one of the best attacking players in the world when it comes to hassling defenders. His high-pressing often wins the ball back for his team, and that is when Messi comes alive - when his team have the ball in a dangerous position.

The same could be said about Neymar who defies his Brazilian flair stereotype by tracking back and working extremely hard.

Energy to produce magic

It's no coincidence that Messi often scores a large amount of goals late in matches.

Messi admitted that he knew his side would beat Arsenal in the second-half because their opposition had been working too hard during the match. Barcelona had 71% possession during the 90 minutes, meaning the home side were often left chasing the ball.

"They worked really hard for each other during the first half but we knew they wouldn't be able to cope with the pressure after the break," he said.

Still going strong

The 28-year-old appears to be showing no signs of slowing down and the Argentine has already scored 16 goals since the turn of the year.

His 29 goals in 32 matches in all competitions proves that his style of very little running is working extremely well, indeed.

And why would anyone at the club want to attempt to change Messi’s style of play?

Former Barcelona manager Cesar Luis Menotti once joked: “Messi could be on the pitch talking to his wife and son on his mobile…then suddenly grab the ball and win the match.”

It's a brilliant way to sum Messi up.

Barcelona success

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is hoping to help his side win their second consecutive treble this season.

They’re eight points clear in La Liga, while they’re in the final of the Copa del Rey where they face Sevilla.

Barcelona’s toughest challenge will come in Europe where they will have to beat the likes of Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich to lift the trophy in Milan in May.

Is Lionel Messi the greatest ever player? Let us know in the comments box below!

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UEFA Champions League
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Thierry Henry
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