Messi's 25 goals in 23 games against Real Betis - he could have a worse record...

Barcelona will be determined to extend their La Liga winning streak when they face Real Betis on Sunday. Lucky for manager Ronald Koeman his illustrious number-ten scores for fun against them.

Inspiring a hard-fought 2-1 league win last Sunday night, Lionel Messi scored a fantastic free kick to help Barcelona enact revenge on Athletic Bilbao, following their dramatic encounter in the Spanish Super Cup last month.

The opening goal of the game was Messi's 650th in a Barcelona shirt and increased his goalscoring record in the league to 12 goals in 18 games, and his tally for the season to 16.

With a Copa del Rey quarterfinal against Granada to focus on first, Barca's next league game will be an away trip to the Benito Villamarin Stadium to face a mid-table Real Betis side, who are slowly starting to stabilise their erratic form under Manuel Pellegrini.

Koeman's side will make the journey to Seville knowing only a win will suffice if they are to have any hope of catching runaway leaders Atletico Madrid.

This week, they may be in luck.

Messi has an extraordinarily successful track record against the side and if past results are anything to go by, there will certainly be goals.

We've taken a look at how the numbers add up.

Stat Attack

Messi has an exceptional record against Betis, recording 25 goals and 10 assists in just 23 appearances across all competitions, incredibly averaging a contribution every 54 minutes in previous meetings.

He has a 74% win percentage against Los Verdiblancos, with 17 victories, four draws and two defeats. Only one of these came in La Liga, a 4-3 defeat at the Camp Nou in the 2018/19 season, the other came in the Copa del Rey in 2010/11.

Remarkably, the amazing Argentine has recorded more than one goal contribution against his opponents on 13 occasions - over half the games he's played - including two hat tricks and eight braces, amongst dozens of marvellous assists.

Messi has the most goals (25) in the 121 games played between the sides
Messi has the most goals (25) in the 121 games played between the sides

In addition, Barcelona have scored three or more goals in 15 of the games that Messi has started or featured in, and there has been an average of 4.78 goals across these 23.

The game certainly promises goals, and it goes without saying that Barca's world-class number-ten will be heavily involved in nearly all of them.

Planet Sport has taken a look at five of Messi's best games in recent history against Real Betis.

Five of the Best

Barcelona 5-0 Real Betis

Copa del Rey quarterfinal, first leg

January 12, 2011

Fresh off the back of his third Ballon d'Or victory just two days prior, the best player in the world immediately justified his title with a breathtaking hat trick in the first leg of Barcelona's Copa del Rey quarterfinal clash.

It took the Argentine 43 minutes to break the deadlock, a swift one-two with Andres Iniesta played him through to loft a cleverly crafted chip over Casto to put the Catalonians ahead.

Doubling Barcelona's lead and his goal tally, Messi scored a second on the hour mark, delicately placing the ball into the far-right corner of the goal after a scramble in the Betis box.

He rounded off a perfect performance for himself and all but settled the tie in the 73rd minute. A pinpoint pass from Xavi played Messi in for a simple one-on-one, that he made no mistake in finishing.

Late goals from Pedro and Seydou Keita sealed a convincing victory for Pep Guardiola's side as they ran out 6-3 winners on aggregate.

Barcelona 6-2 Real Betis

La Liga

August 20, 2016

Starting the season in style, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner bagged a brace and an assist as Barcelona romped to victory on the opening day of the 2016/17 La Liga season.

In a goal as fascinating as his newly styled blonde haircut, Messi got off the mark in the new campaign with a thunderous left-footed strike from 20 yards to put the hosts 2-1 up.

With a goal to his name already, the Argentine selflessly squared the ball to Luis Suarez for the Uruguayan's second of the evening.

Just a minute later and he had a second of his own, jinking through the sea of Betis outfield players to fire a perfectly placed left-footed finish into the far-right corner.

The 6-2 victory fired the reigning champions back to the top of the table again.

Real Betis 0-5 Barcelona

La Liga

January 21, 2018

Extending their lead at the top of La Liga to 11 points, Messi recorded another brilliant brace and assist combination, alongside an Ivan Rakitic finish and a Luis Suarez double in a dominant second-half display for Barca.

After the Croatian midfielder put Barcelona ahead, Messi extended the lead to two with a routine finish from a one-on-one, to score his first of the night.

Following a mazy run through the Betis half Messi had his second, easily evading the opposition defence as he glided into the box to finish from close range.

In the 89th minute, another dangerous dribble from the Argentine created the fifth and final goal of the game. Having raced into the box again, he picked out Suarez and the striker did what he does best.

Simply mesmerising.

Real Betis 1-4 Barcelona

La Liga

March 17, 2019

Another five goal decimation and another Messi hat trick. This particular trio of goals is up there with his best, as he scored the 51st of his career.

Messi put Barcelona ahead after 18 minutes, curling an unsavable free kick round the wall and into the far left corner of the Betis goal, to the delight of the travelling faithful.

The second was crafted from pure Barcelona brilliance. A ridiculous backheel pass from Luis Suarez was finished by the number-ten in style as he placed the ball into the goal with the outside of his left boot.

Messi has 16 goals and six assists already this season
Messi has 16 goals and six assists already this season

Heroically, he had saved the best until last for his hat trick goal.

Receiving the ball on the edge of the box, he outwitted Lopez with a spectacular first time chip from 20 yards.

The win extended Ernesto Valverde's side's lead at the top to 10 as they marched towards a 26th league title.

Barcelona 5-2 Real Betis

La Liga

November 7, 2020

Playing only the second half, Messi came off the bench to change the game for Barcelona as Koeman's side scored four second-half goals at Camp Nou.

After Antoine Griezmann missed a spot kick earlier in the game, Messi made no mistake in scoring Barcelona's second penalty of the game to give them a 3-1 advantage on the hour mark.

Thumping the ball into the roof of the goal from six yards out, the number-ten scored the fourth 20 minutes later, once again proving his immense worth to his team.

Having only recorded two points in the four games prior to the fixture, Messi's heroics certainly alleviated the pressure from Ronald Koeman and his teammates as they looked to revive their season.

Tip of the fixture

With high-scoring matches between the teams in the past, Paddy Power are offering 13/8 odds on Barcelona to win and both teams to score.

(Odds correct at time of writing, subject to change).

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