Decoding the numbers of Lionel Messi against Real Madrid
Seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, Lionel Messi, is set to return to Spain next year. Paris Saint Germain (PSG) have been drawn against La Liga giants Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. Prior to joining PSG this summer, Messi had played 17 seasons in Spain's top tier for his boyhood club Barcelona.
- The Argentine forward enjoys a brilliant record against Real Madrid, having notched up 26 goals against them while playing for their bitter rival Barcelona (45 appearances).
- He also has 14 assists to his name against them.
- What makes the Real Madrid-PSG tie even more enthralling is that Messi could line up with former Los Blancos skipper Sergio Ramos.
Messi has played 29 games against Real in La Liga and scored 18 goals, besides providing nine assists. Out of 29, Barca won 14 games, lost nine, and six ended in a draw. The 34-year-old has met Real in UCL on two occasions and netted two goals. In these games, Catalan Giants emerged victorious in one while the other ended in a stalemate.
Messi has never struck a goal against Real in Copa del Rey (eight meetings). He has provided three assists as Barca lost three and won two games. Three matches ended in a stalemate. He has smashed six goals while providing two assists in six games at Supercopa. In these games, Barca were beaten thrice. They won twice, while one game ended in a draw.
Messi has netted 125 goals, 15 less than his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo, in the UCL (155 appearances). The former also has 36 assists to his name. He scored 120 goals for Barca and has found the back of the net on five occasions while playing for PSG. Messi made 15 attempts to score five goals in as many games in the UCL this season.
Despite having Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Neymar in their ranks, PSG finished the Group stage at the second spot behind Manchester City. PSG won three games and lost one while drawing two encounters. Real finished the group stage as table toppers with five wins in their kitty from six games. Real's only defeat of the season came against Sheriff on matchday 2.
The first leg match between Real and PSG will be played on February 16 at the Parc des Princes in Paris. The reverse leg is scheduled to be held on March 10 at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid. Both games (01:30 AM IST) will be aired on the Sony Sports Network. The match can also be live-streamed on the SonyLIV app (paid subscription).