Challenges keep coming Lionel Messi's way. And the challenge against Chelsea is tremendous. It’s almost impossible to find a side that the Argentine’s played against but not scored against in his career. Which is where the Blues appear.
In eight games, he’s failed to score against Chelsea. And it’s also been five years since he scored against goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. That makes Tuesday’s task at Stamford Bridge even more difficult. Which is even better for the best player in the world. He has a double challenge ahead of him and it’s time to pass the test.
BALANCE AGAINST CHELSEA
One win, five draws and two losses is Messi’s balance against Chelsea. Petr Cech was in goal for six of those games. Hilario was the goalkeeper for the other two.
The first time Messi faced Chelsea was on Feb. 22, 2006, in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16. That day, they went for him. Jose Mourinho gave ‘instructions’ to Asier del Horno to target him.
And he did., with two horrible challenges on Messi, the first unpunished. But it didn’t stop the Argentine, who was the best player on the pitch at Barça won 2-1. In the second leg he went off injured after 24 minutes and had to be consoled by Frank Rijkaard.
Messi has had good moments against Chelsea, even if he hasn’t scored. He set up the Andres Iniesta goal, for example, as Barça reached the Champions League final in 2009.
THE LAST MEETING
On April 24, 2012, Barça welcomed Chelsea to Camp Nou. The English side had a 1-0 lead from the first leg but Barça moved into a 2-0 lead. Chelsea pulled a goal back and had the lead on away goals when the Catalans were given a penalty. But Messi smashed the crossbar.
Fernando Torres scored in stoppage time to seal the win for the Blues, who went on to beat Bayern Munich in the final that year.
COURTOIS IN THE WAY
Scoring against Chelsea isn’t Messi’s only challenge. He also needs to break his drought against the Belgian goalkeeper.
The last time he netted against Courtois was on Dec. 16, 2012, in a win against Atletico Madrid. Since then, Messi’s failed to beat him again, in league games, Champions League games, Super Cup games and even in an international fixture, too.
In total, eight games have passed since Messi’s last strike against the stopper.