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BARCELONA

Lionel Messi: 35 finals played, 31 goals and 24 wins

Lionel Messi: 35 finals played, 31 goals and 24 wins

JOSE JORDAN

AFP

The Argentinean star hit the post and scored in Barcelona’s defeat to Valencia but was unable to do enough to turn the tie around.

Since Lionel Messi played in, and won, his first final in 2005 with the Argentinean side against Nigeria (2-1) in the Under-20 World Cup to last night’s defeat for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final against Valencia (1-2) fourteen years have passed.

Messi's record in finals

Over those years Messi has played a total of 35 finals - including the two-legged Spanish Super Cup finals - with a total of 24 won and 11 lost. And across all those finals the Argentinean star has played a key role, scoring 31 goals.

The 11 defeats are shared between club and country: with Barcelona he’s lost seven times; with Argentina he’s picked up a runners-up medal four times.

There’s no doubt which was the most painful final to lose: the World Cup in 2015 against Germany in Brazil (1-0). The sorrow of that night still haunts Messi - he’s obsessed with winning the World Cup, the one title he’s failed to collect in his glittering career.

With Barcelona, the 3-0 defeat to Sevilla in the 2006 European Super Cup may have been the most disconcerting, but Messi back then was a youngster who’d only just come out of the youth set-up. As a mature player the way in which Barcelona capitulated to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup is likely his most painful memory of a final.

Messi of course has already tasted defeat in a Copa del Rey final, Barcelona having been beaten by Real Madrid in 2011 (1-0) and 2014 (2-1). Last night’s defeat to Valencia was Messi’s third defeat in the final of Spain’s domestic cup competition. On the plus side, Messi has won the trophy six times: 2009, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, meaning he’s won twice as many finals as he’s lost.

There’s only one competition where Messi has a 100% record in finals: the Champions League, where he’s won the tournament every time he’s been in the final: 2009 against Manchester United (2-0), 2011 again against Man Utd (3-1) and 2015 against Juventus (3-1). (He did play in the Champions League in 2005-06 but missed the final against Arsenal through injury. Barcelona won 2-1). The problem for Messi is that since 2015 Barcelona have failed to reach the final…