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Top 5 Lionel Messi Champions League Performances

Lionel Messi after scoring a goal in Champions League
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Messi has lit up the UEFA Champions League on multiple occasions. Today we are going to take a look at five times he absolutely raised the bar for the rest of the competition.

5. Barcelona vs Bayer Leverkusen, 2011-12, Round of 16

Lionel Messi was a man on a mission in 2012, making an example of every club in his path. He scored a mammoth 91 goals that year, but it was the fateful night in March where the little man cemented himself in Champions League history.


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Barcelona already had a 3-1 lead from the first leg, but they came out to play like the second leg was a final. They were absolutely ruthless, with the number 10 giving them a two-goal lead after the first half. It was during the second half when Messi stole the show. Barca scored four goals in just thirteen minutes, with Messi bagging two. He then rounded up a historic night scoring his fifth with a razor-sharp finish to be the first man to score five goals in a single Champions League game.

4. Barcelona vs Arsenal, 2009-10, Quarter Finals

The 2-2 stalemate at the Emirates in the first leg had set up a mouth-watering winner-takes-all second leg at the Nou Camp. Barcelona needed someone to step up and as he does so often, Messi was the medicine man yet again.


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Nicklas Bendtner had given the visitors the early advantage but it was only a matter of time before Messi took the reins. He immediately scored a brilliant long range equaliser, then in the 37th minute scored again to put Barca in the lead. Right before halftime he completed his hat trick with an audacious chip. It was later in the second half when he capped off a sensational performance with his fourth to send the Blaugrana into the last four.

3. Real Madrid vs Barcelona, 2010-11, Semi-Finals

The first leg of the 2011 El Clasico semi-final was nothing short of entertaining. Clasicos always seem to have an air of chaos as each player on the pitch fights for everything like a gladiator and the first half was exactly like that. Flaring tempers, bad tackles and arguments for the most trivial things. Barcelona had a few chances in the first half with Messi causing problems but they could not break the deadlock.


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It was during the second half when things got out of hand. Pepe was shown red for a tackle on Dani Alves, while José Mourinho was also sent off for dissent. Real Madrid were completely rattled and Messi smelt blood. He opened the scoring by showing off his predator instinct getting in front of Sergio Ramos to steer the volley home. It was toward the end of the game when the little genius stole the show again by scoring one of the most iconic Champions League goals. He picked up the ball little in front of the halfway line and as if the ball was glued to his foot, he skipped past almost the entire Madrid defence and slotted the ball past a flailing Iker Casillas to give Barca a 2 goal advantage to take home for the second leg. To end a phenomenal performance against your most hated rivals in such a manner left the entire world in awe of him.

2. Barcelona vs Bayern Munich, 2014-15, Semi-Finals

Pep Guardiola’s homecoming didn’t quite go according to plan. Bayern came to the Camp Nou set up by the man who gave rise to the golden generation of FC Barcelona, and the same players he managed were now going to use his philosophy against him.


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It was a relatively even affair for the first one hour, with Messi being the standout player. Continuously creating chances, gliding past defenders but it was to no avail. It was at the 77th minute when the home team drew first blood. Messi picked up the ball outside the area and unleashed a pinpoint shot into Manuel Neuer’s near post. Three minutes later Messi picked the ball up, ran at Boateng, turned him inside out and sent him into the ground, then calmly chipped the ball over a 6 foot 4 Neur for Barca’s second. This goal sent the football world into a frenzy, everyone was full of praise and Messi showed Neuer who was boss, a perfect reply to the goalkeeper’s comments before the game. It was Neymar who put the final nail in Bayern’s coffin after being put through on goal by Messi, to complete perhaps the most iconic Champions League night at the Nou Camp.

1. Barcelona vs Manchester United, 2010-11, Final

Arguably the greatest performance in the history of the competition, 23-year-old Lionel Messi stole the show on the grandest stage of club football.


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Pedro opened the scoring but it was shortly nullified by Wayne Rooney and it was 1-1 as the teams headed into the break. He may not have scored or assisted, but Lionel Messi was the standout performer by far in the first half. In a game as even as this, everyone knew what he was doing was special, making the Manchester United players chase after him like school boys and it was only a matter of time before things changed.  

It was in the second half when he unlocked a whole new level and stole the game from the Red Devils, who simply did not stand a chance with the way he was playing. He was running circles around their defence and he was the difference maker yet again. He let off a rocket of a shot to catch Edwin Van Der Saar out from 25 yards and just like that Barca were nearly there. They doubled their advantage thanks to David Villa, but it was the number 10 who was at the heart of it. The final whistle went and Barcelona were European Champions yet again and it was Messi’s magic that had tricked Manchester United once more.  


[Image Credit: UEFA Champions League]