Analysing Lionel Messi's performances against Cadiz

Lionel Messi will need to be on top form against Cadiz in this weekend's La Liga clash if he is to have any hope of saving Barcelona's lacklustre season so far.

In typically breathtaking fashion, Lionel Messi was back to his best against Deportivo Alaves on Saturday night, notching a scintillating brace of the highest quality.

The Argentine struck two unstoppable shots past Fernando Pacheco with his trademark left foot, as Barcelona thrashed Los Babazorros 5-1 in their own backyard.

He extended his ever-growing goal tally to 19 goals in 28 games, with his 15 league goals placing him second in the race for the La Liga Golden Boot, one behind ex-Blaugrana strike partner, Luis Suarez - a vital asset to a clinical Atletico Madrid side so far this season.

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As the Camp Nou outfit look to make up ground on Suarez's side in what has been a one-sided title race thus far, they must next overcome Cadiz on Sunday, as they look to win their eighth successive La Liga game.

Should they be able to maintain this perfect run of form, there is no doubt that there will be a strong correlation between their success and Messi's clinical goalscoring form.

The Argentine is yet to score in his rare appearances against Alavaro Cervera's side, but as is very much the case with him, goal droughts are few and far between - let's look at the stats.

Stat Attack

The Argentine has a 50% win ratio against Cadiz, with one win and one loss against them across a fifteen-year span.

Following a 19th placed finish in the 2005/06 season, his opponents had spent the last decade and a half yo-yoing between the second and third tiers of Spanish football, and having not played Messi in any domestic trophies throughout that time, they are one of only a few teams in Spain who he has only played twice.

Having registered no previous goals against El Submarino Amarillo, Messi's sole assist against them is the only goal contribution of his career, meaning he averages 0.5 a game - albeit in a very small sample size.

Since 1990, Barcelona have only played Cadiz 10 times, with the Catalonians coming out on top eight times, and their opponents winning twice in 1991 and 2020, meaning a 29-year gap between their last two victories against the Camp Nou outfit.

Messi will be hoping to score his first goal against the side while recording only his second ever win against them.

Memorable Match

Cadiz 1-3 Barcelona

La Liga

December 17, 2005

'Cadiz is a beautiful city and I would love to play here' were the words uttered by an 18-year-old Lionel Messi to Luis Soler, as he warmed up for a pre-season clash against the southwestern Spaniards.

Barcelona emerged victorious that day with a 3-1 win thanks to goals from Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o, but at that point, the result had become irrelevant to Cadiz.

Messi was one of the hottest prospects in world soccer at the time, and as word spread about the Argentine's conversation, behind the scenes the club were doing everything possible to bring him to the club on a season-long loan.

Sadly, for Victor Esparrago and his backroom staff, the move was never anything more than a pipedream as any sort of deal failed to materialise and he remained a Barcelona player, and the rest - as you know - is history.

Just a few months later, and a teenage Messi would play a part in his first and only La Liga victory against El Submarino Amarillo to date, as Barcelona recorded another 3-1 win, away at the Estadio Ramon de Carranza.

With Blaugrana two goals to the good, courtesy of strikes from Ludovic Giuly and Samuel Eto'o, the Argentine made his mark on the match, by playing a hand in their third.

Wriggling his way into the box, Messi pulled the ball back for the Cameroonian striker who finished with style for his second of the game, wrapping up a comfortable victory for the Catalonians.

Barcelona went on to win their 18th league title that season, and Messi's second in as many seasons.

Tip of the Fixture

Paddy Power are offering 6/1 odds on a 3-0 Barcelona win and 9/1 for them to run out as 4-0 victors.

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

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