As we reported earlier today Lionel Messi will travel to Stamford Bridge tonight to face Chelsea in the Champions League last 16 first leg, hoping to end a poor run of form against the Blues. The Barcelona superstar has faced the Premier League side eight times in his career and failed to score a single goal, which is the most amount of times the five time Balon d’Or winner has faced any club without finding the net.
Messi has also not enjoyed the best of form when facing Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. During the Belgian international’s time in La Liga with Atletico Madrid he faced Barca’s captain six times, and failed to concede a goal to the superstar attacker.
Speaking on the eve of the game Chelsea manager Antonio Conte admitted that he hopes Messi’s poor run against the Blues continues, although his side must be wary of the Argentina international undoubted talent, when he said:
“I hope that we maintain this tradition but we are speaking about a fantastic player,”
“We must have great respect but at the same time we must be excited to play this type of game and take on this type of challenge.
“It won’t be easy because we know very well this player. We are talking about one of the best players in the world.
“But we for sure will work together, work with the team, but not just to try to stop him: if we focus on just man-marking Messi, it can be very dangerous.”
Chelsea and Barcelona have played out some epic ties in the Champions League over the years, and the two clubs are finely matched in term of the head-to-head stats with each club having won five, lost five and drawn.