Lionel Messi did not play in Barcelona's historic UEFA Champions League victory against Arsenal in 2006 because of a hamstring injury. Now, the 7-time Ballon d'Or winner has admitted that he 'deeply regrets' missing out on Barcelona's celebrations in 2006 after their Champions League triumph.
Speaking to AS, Lionel Messi said:
“I'm sorry I didn't [go out]. I didn't realise what was happening. At least I would have liked to be on the bench that night. Until my injury, [against Chelsea in the round of 16], I participated in every Champions League game in my career.
“I was disappointed. I deeply regret that episode. We won that Champions League and I was not sure what would happen again because it is a difficult competition to win."
Barcelona claimed a narrow 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final thanks to a late winner from Juliano Belletti. Although Messi missed out on the festivities in 2006, he won 3 more Champions League titles with Barcelona to cement his legacy as an all-time great.
Lionel Messi-less Barcelona crash out of the UEFA Champions League after 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich
Barcelona seem to be feeling the absence of Lionel Messi as they crashed out of the UEFA Champions League after a tame 3-0 loss against Bayern Munich. Xavi's men never looked like they had a winning chance and will now be playing in the Europa League this season.
Speaking to DAZN after the match, Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller felt that Barcelona were struggling to match the intensity and pace of top level football:
"I think Barça can’t cope with the intensity. Technically, they have it all, they are great players tactically and technically. But they can’t cope with the intensity in top football.”
Lionel Messi's PSG, on the other hand, are safely through to the round of 16. However, after finishing second in their group behind Manchester City, the Ligue 1 giants could face a tricky encounter in the knockout stages.
While Messi has not been at his best in Ligue 1 this season, the legendary Argentine has been in fine form in the UEFA Champions League group stages. In 5 appearances, the 34-year old has scored 5 times and will be hoping to inspire PSG to an elusive European trophy this season.