Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati made more Champions League history with Barcelona on Tuesday at the Camp Nou against Hungarian champions Ferencvaros.
The Barcelona captain struck from the penalty spot on 27 minutes to become the first player in history to score in Europe’s elite competition in 16 consecutive seasons.
Messi won the penalty with a trademark run that saw him go past three Ferencvaros defenders before finally being felled in the area by Adnan Kovačević. The 33-year-old stepped up and fired his spot-kick past goalkeeper Dénes Dibusz for the opening goal of the match.
The captain’s goal also means he has now scored against 36 different teams in the competition:
Barcelona doubled their lead three minutes before half-time when 17-year-old Fati latched on to Frenkie de Jong’s pass and netted his second Champions League goal:
Fati’s first goal in the competition came back in 2019 when he scored against Inter to become the Champions League’s youngest ever goalscorer at the age of 17 years and 40 days, per Opta.
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Ansu Returns to the Starting XI
Manager Ronald Koeman brought Fati back into his starting XI for Tuesday’s match after only using him as a substitute last time out against Getafe. The youngster was one of several changes for the Catalan giants.
Philippe Coutinho was also back in after being rested for the trip to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, while summer signings Francisco Trincao and Miralem Pjanic were handed their first Barcelona starts.
The goals mean that Fati remains Barcelona’s top scorer so far in 2020-21 with four in five appearances, and the youngster is quickly cementing his place in Koeman’s first XI.
Messi Answers Doubters
Messi is another permanent fixture in the team but did see his form questioned before kick-off. The Argentine’s only other goal this season has also come from the penalty spot, in the 4-0 win over Villarreal, which is a disappointing return by his high standards.
Koeman was asked about Messi’s performances in his pre-match press conference and admitted the Argentina international had not yet hit top form so far this season, according to ESPN.
Maybe, at the moment, Messi’s performances could be better. But he is happy, he is working hard and he wants to be the captain. I don’t have a single complaint. He has also had some bad luck. He hit the post and on another day that goes in. I don’t have any doubts about his performances and we’re going to see him in the upcoming games, I’m sure.
Messi’s goal comes at a good time with Barcelona needing to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Getafe on Saturday. The loss was their first of the new La Liga campaign and also their first under new boss Koeman.
A busy week for Barcelona continues on Saturday when they host bitter rivals Real Madrid at the Camp Nou. Neither team has started the season in particularly convincing fashion but will feel that a victory in the crunch clash could really kickstart their season.