• Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid
  • Lionel Messi failed to score for the fifth consecutive game
  • Messi is experiencing his longest goal drought since May 2011
  • He ended that run with a goal in the 2011 Champions League final 

Joe Ridge for MailOnline

For all the talk of how Luis Suarez and Neymar have eased the strain of expectation on Lionel Messi since they joined him at Barcelona, his influence on the team is clearly still second to none.

It is no coincidence, for example, that Messi’s longest goal ‘drought’ for five years has coincided with their exit from the Champions League and the trimming of their La Liga lead to just three points.

Drought is used in inverted commas because a Messi drought would barely worry you run-of-the-mill frontman.

Lionel Messi reacts as a chance goes begging in Wednesday night's Champions League defeat at Atletico

Lionel Messi reacts as a chance goes begging in Wednesday night’s Champions League defeat at Atletico

Following Wednesday night’s dramatic Champions League exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid Messi has now gone 452 minutes without scoring a goal for Barcelona.

It doesn’t sound like much – it’s just over five matches of football in fact – but it is the longest arguably the greatest footballer the world has ever seen has gone without a goal since May 2011.

In typical Messi fashion, that particular barren run was ended in the Champions League final at Wembley as Messi scored in a 3-1 victory over Manchester United. 

Messi emphatically ends his 2011 goal drought to give Barcelona the lead in the Champions League final

Messi emphatically ends his 2011 goal drought to give Barcelona the lead in the Champions League final

If he doesn’t score in the first 23 minutes of Barcelona’s La Liga clash against Valencia on Sunday – which is far from a certainty given Messi’s ridiculously good goalscoring record – this run will eclipse that one.

The last time he scored was in Barca’s 3-1 win over Arsenal in the Champions League last month.

As well as being kept out twice by Atletico in the Champions League since then, Messi has failed to scored in defeats against Real Madrid and Real Sociedad and a draw at Villarreal – all in La Liga.

The Argentine dinks the ball over Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina on March 16 - his last goal for Barcelona

The Argentine dinks the ball over Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina on March 16 – his last goal for Barcelona

Messi and his Barcelona team-mates look dejected as they are knocked out of the Champions League

Messi and his Barcelona team-mates look dejected as they are knocked out of the Champions League

But, let’s not forget, most strikers consider scoring one goal every two games a healthy scoring record.

Messi, who has scored 460 goals in 556 games for Barcelona, would have to go another 364 games without a goal to be on a par with those mere mortals. 

LIONEL MESSI’S TWO GOAL ‘DROUGHTS’ 

2011:

April 30: Real Sociedad (A) L 1-2 (La Liga)

May 3: Real Madrid (H) D 1-1 (Champs Lge)

May 8: Espanyol (H) W 2-0 (La Liga)

May 11: Levante (A) D 1-1 (La Liga)

May 15: Deportivo (H) D 0-0 (La Liga)

2016: 

March 20: Villarreal (A) D 2-2 (La Liga)

April 2: Real Madrid (H) L 1-2 (La Liga)

April 5: Atletico Madrid (H) W 2-1 (CL)

April 9: Real Sociedad (A) L 0-1 (La Liga)

April 13: Atletico Madrid (A) L 0-2 (CL)


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