Barcelona’s defeat by Atlético Madrid on Wednesday was the fifth club game in a row that Lionel Messi has failed to score, his worst run of form since April 2010.
The 28-year-old has not scored for the club since 16 March, when he sealed a 3-1 win against Arsenal in the round of 16 second leg. He has since gone 452 minutes without a goal for the Azulgrana, though he did net from the spot for Argentina against Bolivia on 29 March.
Messi has not looked the same player since returning from the international break and reports are surfacing that the is injured. But with Barca embroiled in a title race there are few opportunities for Barcelona manager Luis Enrique to give him the rest that he obviously needs.
What is apparent is despite all the great players in the Barcelona line-up, if Messi does not play well in the big games, neither does Barca. In seven knock-out ties in the Champions League over the last 10 years, Messi has failed to score and has provided just one assist in 1,442 minutes.
Since Messi was elevated to the Barcelona first team, the Camp Nou club has fallen in Europe to Liverpool (2007), Manchester United (2008), Inter Milan (2010), Chelsea (2012), Bayern Munich (2013) and Atlético (2014 and 2016).
Across the course of those knock-out ties Messi has played 1,442 minutes and failed to score a single goal, managing just one assist in the return leg of the semi-final against Chelsea, during which he also missed a potentially decisive penalty.
Messi’s goal drought
20 March: Villarreal 2-2 Barcelona
2 April: Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
5 April: Barcelona 2-1 Atlético Madrid
9 April: Real Sociedad 1-0 Barcelona
12 April: Atlético Madrid 2-0 Barcelona