Decoding Lionel Messi's best seasons in the Champions League
Lionel Messi is considered the most gifted footballer in the modern era. He had defied the greatest odds on several occasions to create the most dazzling performances on-field in the last decade. He has won almost everything in football, including four UEFA Champions League titles. He won his first UCL at the age of 18 and the rest as they say is history.
Why does it matter?
Messi has scripted several records in UCL. With 125 goals under his name, he is the second-highest goal-scorer in UCL. He is also the second most assist provider (36). He (154) is the 4th most capped player in the competition. He has finished as UCL's top goal-scorer on six occasions - 2008-09 (9), 2009-10 (8), 2010-11 (12), 2011-12 (14), 2014-15 (10) and 2018-19 (12).
Messi helps Barca win in 2008-09
Messi finished the 2008-09 season as the top scorer with nine goals as Barca won their third UCL title. He scored five goals, besides providing three assists during the group stage. He netted one goal in the round of 16 against Lyon and two in quarters against Bayern Munich. Messi was on the score sheet as Barca defeated Manchester United in the final.
Messi guides Barca to yet another UCL title
In 2010-11, Messi was at his absolute best as he fired Barcelona to another title. He netted 12 goals to top the UCL goal-scoring chart in the said season. He netted six goals during the group stage, including a brace against Panathinaikos. He scored twice as Braca ousted Real Madrid in the semis and netted one goal against Man United in the all-important final.
Messi's best season in UCL
Messi's most prolific campaign in the UCL came in 2011-12 when he smashed 14 goals. Though he failed to guide Barcelona to UCL glory, he registered his highest goals tally in the competition in a single season. Messi scored six goals during the group stage, six in the round of 16 over two legs against Bayer Leverkusen. He scored twice in quarters against Milan.
Messi lifts 4th UCL title with Barca
Messi won his 4th and last UCL title in 2014-15 with Barcelona. He scored ten goals, besides providing six assists in the said season. Messi started the 2014-15 season on a high, netting eight goals in the group stage, including a hat-trick against Apoel Nicosia. He demolished Bayern Munich in the semis by finding the back of the net twice during the first semi-final.
Semi-final heartbreak for Messi
In 2018-19, Messi had yet another dazzling season in Europe's most elite competition, finishing the year as the top scorer with 12 goals. Despite scoring twice, he was not able to save Barca from semi-finals heartbreak against Liverpool. He scored five goals during the group stage, two in R16 against Lyon and was on the scoreboard when Barca ousted United in quarters.