Lionel Messi's Reputation on the Line as PSG Face Real Madrid in Blockbuster Champions League Clash
12:17 GMT 15.02.2022 (Updated: 11:44 GMT 10.12.2022)
Lionel Messi was a goalscoring behemoth at Barcelona, with the Catalan giants enjoying the fruits of his exploits in a big way. After all, the Argentine powered them to European glory, winning the Champions League four times during his long stint there. But can La Pulga recreate the same magic for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG)?
Lionel Messi may not have enjoyed his stay in France, with his struggles in Ligue 1 well documented, but the legendary footballer has come good for PSG in the UEFA Champions League.
On Tuesday, all eyes will be on the Argentina skipper as PSG take on Spanish giants Real Madrid in a highly anticipated Champions League last 16 encounter at home.
Just like Messi, PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino is also from Argentina and he was instrumental in bringing the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner to Paris last summer.
The idea behind signing the ex-Barcelona frontman was that he would help them in capturing a maiden Champions League title, something the club has long desired.
While Messi has disappointed PSG in the French league with only two goals to his name, his performance in the continental tournament has been quite impressive as he has so far produced five goals in as many matches.
That's perhaps the prime reason behind the French outfit's confidence in the 34-year-old as he has historically performed exceptionally well against Madrid.
Messi's overall record against the 13-time Champions League winners has been fantastic, as he has netted 26 goals in 45 games, besides having 14 assists against them.
The first time the Argentine showed his prowess against the Spaniards was in 2007, when he delivered a stunning hat-trick in an El Clasico game to force a 3-3 draw at home, putting his idol Ronaldinho in the shade as a teenager.
Messi's finest moment against Barcelona's rivals, however, came at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2017, when he produced a scintillating stoppage time winner to silence the vociferous Real Madrid fans.
The talisman's heroics eventually sealed the fate of the La Liga with Messi's side winning the title for the 25th time at the end of the season.
Despite his past success, Messi's reputation will be on the line tonight, considering he's yet to settle down in the French capital.
Though PSG has remained quiet to Messi's failures in Ligue 1, managing to top the table there without the help of his goals, doing so in Europe's premier club competition would be extremely tough to achieve, especially against Real. So, all PSG needs is for Messi to be firing on all cylinders a few hours from now.