After four triumphs in the UEFA Champions League with his former side, Barcelona, all eyes will be on Lionel Messi to see if he can lead his new team, Paris Saint-Germain, to their first win of the coveted trophy.
Ever since the Qatar Investment Authority began to bankroll the club, they have gone from a middle-of-the-road Ligue 1 challenger to one of Europe’s elite clubs. That transformation, of course, has not come cheap, with millions of euros invested in several players and managers. The ultimate prize – the Champions League – has so far remained elusive. Standing between Messi and his teammates to clinching a quarterfinal ticket are Spanish giants Real Madrid.
There is no comparing the two teams when it comes to success in the European Cup, with Real Madrid the most successful team in the competition with 13 wins, while PSG are still waiting for their first silverware in Europe’s leading tournament. They have reached the final and semi-finals in the last two editions, and with Messi in the fold, they will be desperate to go a step further than 2019-20, when they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich in the final.
The contest is the standout tie in the round-of-16 this season, with the two sides locking horns in Paris for the first leg on Tuesday before the reverse fixture at the Bernabeu on March 9, 2022.
Lionel Messi, who joined PSG from Barcelona on a two-year contract with a net salary of €25 million per year, has been nothing short of a nightmare for Real Madrid.
The Argentine spent 17 seasons in Spain where he won 10 La Liga and six Copa Del Rey titles. And as we said earlier, he has won the UEFA Champions League on four occasions during his time with the Catalan giants.
Messi enjoys a fantastic record against Real Madrid scoring 26 goals in 45 appearances with 14 assists to his name. However, he hasn’t been on the scoresheet in his last five appearances against the Spanish side.
His first appearance against Real Madrid was back in November 2005 where he assisted the opening goal scored by Samuel Eto’o at the Santiago Bernabeu. Since then, he has played 29 matches in La Liga against Real Madrid, scoring 18 goals and providing nine assists.
Can you guess how many freekicks Messi scored against Real Madrid? Well, he may or may not score one on Tuesdays or in the return leg, but Messi has scored two freekicks against his arch-rivals. Both were scored in 2012, one apiece in La Liga and Supercopa de Espana.
What about the number of penalties Messi has scored against them? The Argentine boasts of a perfect record in penalties as he has successfully converted all six spot-kicks against Real Madrid.
Messi loves scoring hat-tricks. But how many has he scored against Real Madrid? Let’s go down memory lane!
His first hat-trick against Madrid came in the 2006-07 campaign at Camp Nou. Barcelona played catch-up with their perennial foe throughout the match but thanks to an injury-time equaliser by Messi, then the Catalans would have been defeated.
Messi’s second hat-trick came in a seven-goal thriller at the Santiago Bernabeu with Barcelona clinching the tie 4-3. The current coach of Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti, was in the dugout back then as well.
Messi’s record against Real Madrid
UEFA Champions League: 2 matches; 2 goals
La Liga: 29 matches; 18 goals; 9 assists
Copa del Rey: 8 matches; 3 assists
Super Copa: 6 matches; 6 goals; 2 assists
Total: 45 matches; 26 goals; 14 assists
Aside from the Messi factor, there is also the sub-plot of Kylian Mbappe, the PSG striker who remains Real Madrid’s No 1 transfer target and is likely to move to Spain on a free transfer when his current deal expires this summer.
“Have I made a decision over my future? No,” Mbappe said.
“Playing against Real Madrid changes a lot of things. Although I have the freedom to do what I want in this moment, I am not going to speak with a rival or do that type of thing. I am concentrated on winning against Real Madrid. And then we will see what happens.”
Carlo Ancelotti, who will be hoping to have Mbappe in his forward line from the start of next season, will use both games to thoroughly access the star striker.
The two sides have met on 10 occasions in European football, and Real Madrid lead the head-to-head record with four wins to PSG’s three, while there have also been three draws.
The last two meetings between the two sides came during the group stage of the 2019-20 Champions League, with PSG recording a 3-0 victory in Paris, before the points were shared in a 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu two months later.Copyright © 2021 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.