Lionel Messi has proven over and over again his potential in big matches for Barcelona. Messi is the sort of player that gives coaches and defenders a very hard time making plans to stop him.
The diminutive attacker made it look so easy when he scored 5 goals against Bayer Leverkusen in the Round of 16. With 4 assists and a tally of 14 goals thus far in the UEFA Champions League, Lionel Messi can be proclaimed as the best player in the competition, the one to shut down.
He is fresh from scoring a controversial match winner for Barcelona against Levante at the weekend. Here is some scary news for Chelsea’s defence: Lionel Messi has appeared in 32 league matches, played 2,818 minutes and scored 41 goals this season.
Curiously, Chelsea’s strikers are far from matching these statistics. Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Daniel Sturridge have only 19 goals between them in as many as 84 combined EPL matches.
In the UEFA Champions League, Messi has more goals than what Drogba (4), Lampard (3) and Torres (2) have in total. Lionel Messi has scored an amazing number of 63 goals in all competitions so far.
Much of the attention ahead of the Champions League semi-finals is on the man who put Los Blancos back on track in La Liga with a hat-trick in the Madrid derby last week: Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 27-year-old player is in good form with 53 goals from 48 matches in all competitions this season and 139 goals in 137 appearances since joining Real Madrid. Ronaldo’s intention to be the best player on the planet is no secret.
Last season, he was outshined by Lionel Messi in the semi-finals as Real Madrid crashed out in controversial fashion. Here comes another opportunity for Ronaldo to push his team closer to Champions League glory.
Pundits believe that Cristiano Ronaldo has already lost the war to Messi ahead of the next individual accolades in Europe and in the world. A good way for the Portuguese forward to respond to those claims would be to take the semi-finals stage by storm en route to glory.
• Minutes played in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League: Lionel Messi 810-720 Cristiano Ronaldo
• Goals scored in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League: Lionel Messi 14-8 Cristiano Ronaldo
• Assists made in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League: Lionel Messi 4-2 Cristiano Ronaldo
• Attempts on target in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League: Lionel Messi 34-24 Cristiano Ronaldo
Who will flop and who will dazzle? Will both crash out or reach the final?