Arguably the greatest player of all-time, Lionel Messi was the epitome of consistency across competitions, often powering his beloved Barcelona to glory both in La Liga and the Champions League, especially in the decade from 2006 to 2015.
However, his graph in Europe’s premier club tournament has witnessed a downward spiral since then.
After Lionel Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) last summer, he made it clear that his top priority was to win the Champions League with the French giants.
But the Argentine footballer suffered a huge setback in his pursuit of the continental title as PSG crashed out of the tournament, having lost to Real Madrid in the Round of 16 on Wednesday.
With PSG’s defeat against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, Messi extended his Champions League drought to seven years.
Messi’s last European title came back in 2015, when Barca defeated Juventus in the final.
Prior to the aforementioned victory, the Argentina skipper had claimed Champions League trophies in 2006, 2009, and 2011.
Messi’s title-less streak in the tourney began in 2016, when the Catalan giants were eliminated by Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals.
The ensuing three seasons inflicted more agony on the 34-year-old superstar as it was Roma who beat them at the same stage in 2017.
Next term, Messi’s Blaugrana followed an identical trajectory, this time losing 4-0 to Liverpool at Anfield after grabbing a 3-0 advantage over them at Camp Nou.
In 2020, when UEFA made it a single-leg competition, Barca imploded against Bayern Munich, registering a 8-2 defeat against the Bundesliga side in Lisbon, their worst loss in the history of the tournament.
After the Lisbon disaster, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s relationship with the Catalans hit rock bottom, and resulted in him invoking a release clause in his contract. But the club quickly denied him permission to depart from there.
His unhappiness under then Barca president Ronald Koeman became palpable, which eventually took a toll on their Champions League campaign.
The Catalonia-based team was ousted in the last 16, with Kylian Mbappe becoming their destroyer-in-chief as PSG went on to annihilate them 4-1 at Camp Nou followed by a 1-1 draw in the second leg in the French capital.