After his shock transfer request at Barcelona, Lionel Messi is reportedly in talks with Manchester City in a deal which could range from a free transfer to £630million.
No matter how much the deal costs, Messi’s move to the Premier League will be the biggest transfer England has ever seen – and should give top-flight defenders a few sleepless nights.
Despite the Argentinian’s frightening goal return in Spain, his record against English teams in the Champions League has been mixed. So what can we expect from Messi in the top-flight looking back at his record?
The team Messi has devastated most is Arsenal, with the Barcelona man netting nine goals in six matches against the Gunners in Europe’s premier club competition.
It was only in Arsenal’s second match against Messi where they felt the full force of the forward’s firepower. The Argentinian scored all four goals in the Camp Nou to complete Barcelona’s 4-1 comeback win in the Champions League last-16 in April 2010, in a match that cemented Messi’s status as one of football’s greatest players.
In fact, the Barcelona star has scored in each of his last three matches against Arsenal, including goals in both legs of the last time the two teams met in the Champions League knockout stage in 2016.
And with Arsenal conceding around three goals per game against Guardiola’s Manchester City without Messi, the Gunners will be hoping the Argentinian is injured for their encounters next season.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea have fared better against Messi over the years. In fact, the forward failed to find the net in each of his eight matches against the Blues in the Champions League.
But Messi, as he always does, did manage to break through the last time the west Londoners tried to contain him as he scored in the home and away ties against Chelsea two years ago as Antonio Conte’s side were humbled 3-0 in the second leg on their last-16 tie in 2018.
The Argentinian has also created 12 goalscoring chances in the ten matches where he has come up against Chelsea in Europe.
Manchester City will be very grateful Messi may be turning out for them next season, as the Barcelona man has netted six goals in six games against his potential new employers.
After managing him for four seasons, Pep Guardiola was punished by Messi’s Barcelona in 2016 when he scored a hat-trick against Manchester City at the Camp Nou during their first group stage encounter.
What will excite City fans is how easily Messi was able to cut their own team’s defence during these encounters, as he created 17 chances in those six games – more than any other English side he has faced.
Manchester United, meanwhile, have been heartbroken by Messi over the years. The striker scored in United’s 2009 and 2011 Champions League final defeats to Barcelona, with both goals superb strikes for very different reasons.
The first was a superb leap to put Barcelona 2-0 up in Rome, while the second was a brilliant run and finish to give the Catalans the lead at Wembley.
Liverpool managed to shut Messi out for their first two games against his Barcelona team, but the Argentinian legend struck twice in the 3-0 win over the Champions League first-leg win in 2019 – including that delightful free-kick.
The Reds got their own back on Messi a week later, as they won 4-0 to progress to the Champions League final on a memorable night in Anfield.
Tottenham have only faced the Barcelona man twice, but they still know how it feels to be run ragged by one of the best players of all time.
Messi netted twice against Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs during a 4-2 group stage win at Wembley in 2018.
So if Messi does manage to make the move to Manchester City this summer, then that experience shows he will have little problems acclimatising to English defences.