Can a Messi masterclass save Barcelona from Sevilla trouble?

Following disappointing results as of late, Lionel Messi will be hoping to inspire Barcelona to victory at the weekend against Sevilla, a team he has scored the most goals of his career against.

It's starting to become the same, frustrating story for Lionel Messi and Barcelona this season. The legendary Argentine continues to score goals but his team aren't winning games, as the Catalonian catastrophe continued against Cadiz on Sunday.

In a similar vein to the Champions League clash with PSG, the illustrious number-ten opened the scoring from the penalty spot but Ronald Koeman's side were unable to see out the victory, as Cadiz scored with their only shot on target in the 89th minute to end Blaugrana's seven-game winning streak in La Liga.

Converting his spot-kick in a club-record 506th La Liga appearance, the Argentine drew level with close friend and ex team-mate, Luis Suarez at the summit of the league's goalscoring charts with 16 apiece, taking his tally for the season to 21 goals and eight assists in 30 games so far.

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As they continue on their disappointing trajectory towards a second consecutive trophyless season, Ronald Koeman's side sit third in the league, eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid - and should they lose to Sevilla on Saturday, the curtain may well fall on their campaign once and for all.

Julen Lopetegui's side will certainly fancy their chances against the out of form Catalonians, having won their last nine games in Spanish football - including a 2-0 victory against their opponents in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final clash.

In fact, if Los Sevillistas get the better of Barcelona at the weekend, they will leapfrog the Camp Nou outfit into third place - but with Messi's prolific goal scoring return against them in mind, this will be easier said than done.

Let's take a lot at the astounding Argentine's stats against his opponents.

Stat Attack

Messi has scored more goals (37) against Sevilla than any other side in his career, alongside an impressive return of 18 assists against the southwestern spaniards in 41 games, earning him an incredible average of 1.3 goal contributions a game.

The number-ten is also superior on the win percentage front, with 29 victories against his opponents and 7 draws, with him being on the losing side just five teams, boasting a percentage of 70%.

He has also scored more than one goal in a game on ten occasions, boasting seven braces and three hat-tricks against Lopotegui's men since his first game against them in the 2005/06 season.

Messi's biggest victory against Los Sevillistas came in a 6-1 victory in the second-leg of the 2018/19 Copa del Rey quarter-finals, with his heaviest defeat coming in a 3-1 loss in the first leg of the 2010/11 Supercopa de Espana.

Twelve of the forward's 37 goals have come in fixtures played at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium - will he add to his tally in Seville on Saturday?

We've highlighted four games from Messi's magisterial performances against Sevilla throughout his career.

Memorable Matches

Barcelona 5-1 Sevilla

La Liga

November 22. 2014

Striking once in the first half and twice in the second, a historic hat-trick for Messi crowned him as Spanish football's all-time top scorer as he helped Barcelona to decimate Sevilla at Camp Nou.

Matching legendary Bilbao forward Telmo Zarra with his first goal of the game, the Argentine scored his 251st from a trademark free-kick that swerved into the top left corner of Beto's goal.

Upon scoring his second - and ultimately the record-breaking goal - the mini maestro was hoisted up into the air by his adoring team-mates in a euphoric celebration of his greatness.

Always the perfectionist, the rampant Rosarian completed his hat-trick just six minutes later, firing a low driven strike into the far corner of the Sevilla net.

Cementing himself further as the king of Spanish football, Messi's record-breaking feat of 253 goals was achieved in just 250 starts for his club. Unbelievable.

Sevilla 2-4 Barcelona

La Liga

February 23, 2019

Another six-goal thriller. Another Messi masterclass. Another hat-trick.

On this occasion, the superb South American scored the 50th (yes, 50th!) hat-trick of his career as Barcelona ruled supreme in Seville to go ten points clear at the top of La Liga en route to their 26th league title.

Bringing Blaugrana from behind twice, Messi cancelled out Jesus Navas' opener with an acrobatic volley before his wonderful right-footed strike levelled the scores once more after Mercado put the hosts back in front.

Giving the visitors the lead in style, a clinical Messi chipped Tomas Vaclik before assisting Luis Suarez in injury time to settle the fixture once and for all.

In an astounding individual display from Messi, his tremendous trio took his tally against Sevilla to 33 goals in 32 games.

Barcelona 4-0 Sevilla

Supercopa de Espana

August 21, 2010

After his side slumped to a disappointing 3-1 defeat in the first leg, a magisterial Messi saved Barcelona again with three goals to seal a historic victory for Barcelona, who won yet another piece of silverware under Pep Guardiola.

Blaugrana were handed a lifeline in the game when the scoring was opened at Camp Nou when Pedro's low-drilled cross was turned into the Sevilla net, before the amazing Argentinian dazzled in Catalonia, like he had so many times before.

Doubling their lead, the forward latched onto an inch-perfect pass from Xavi, to finish with ease and bring the teams level, putting them ahead on aggregate on the stroke of half-time with an audacious right-footed chip.

Minutes before the final whistle and Messi ensured that the Supercopa would be kept in Barcelona, finishing into an empty net after a drag back to complete another wonderful hat-trick.

Barcelona 5-4 Sevilla (AET)

UEFA Super Cup

August 11, 2015

Striking a brace of fantastic free-kicks just 15 minutes apart, Messi helped to inspire an iconic 5-4 comeback for Barcelona as they won a record fifth UEFA Super Cup against their fellow La Liga rivals in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Los Sevillistas took the lead after just three minutes thanks to an unstoppable Ever Banega free-kick, but thankfully for Blaugrana however, their iconic number ten was in no mood to receive a runners-up medal.

Just four minutes later and the wondrous winger had grabbed Barcelona's equaliser, matching Banega's free-kick with one of his own, as he effortlessly lofted the ball past Beto in a manic opening 10 minutes.

By the 15-minute mark, the mini maestro had bagged his brace and put Luis Enrique's side ahead in the tie for the first time in a way only he is capable of, firing another free-kick home from a tight angle to give Blaugrana the advantage.

Rafinha and Suarez bagged for the Catalonians before Reyes pulled one back for the visitors as the game rolled on towards its dramatic climax.

A valiant Sevilla fought back from 4-2 down with an 81st-minute goal from Konoplyanka ensuring the game would go to extra time, where Pedro scored the game's ninth and final goal in emphatic fashion in the 115th minute to seal the trophy for Barca.

Tip of the fixture

In a game that is likely to be settled by very fine margins, the outcome of this particular fixture could be season defining for either team.

Barcelona to win and both teams to score is priced at 11/4 on Paddy Power.

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

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