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06.05.2010 13:25

Messi, a nightmare for Palop

David Puig

Messi and Palop are about to face each other for the eighth time in the league. The Argentinian is a veritable nightmare for the Sevilla keeper, who has been beaten by him seven times in seven games.

Sevilla may have one of the finest keepers in Spain, but when it comes to facing Leo Messi, he struggles to keep a clean sheet. Iker Casillas and Palop are the two keepers that have leaked the most goals to Messi – seven in all.

No goals on debut

Messi and Palop first came eye to eye in the 2005/06 season when Sevilla came to the Camp Nou. Rijkaard’s side won 2-1, but Messi didn’t score that day. His first against the Andalusians came the season after, when Barša won 3-1 and Messi beat Palop to score the third.

Two by two

web_Barcelona-Sevilla_08.jpgThat was just the start of the punishment Messi would unleash on Palop. He has since gone on to score six goals in five games, including both the goals that gave Barša a 2-1 win over Sevilla on September 22, 2007. With Ronaldinho out, it was down to Messi to make the difference in a tight match, with his brace coming in the last quarter of an hour.

Messi scores at Sßnchez Pizjußn

messi1.jpgPalop seemed to have Messi under control when they met at the Sßnchez Pizjußn, but all that changed on November 29, 2008 as Barša entered a series of games against the other four of the top five teams in the table. Messi wreaked havoc on Palop, scoring two of his side’s three against the side coached by Manuel JimÚnez.

Two goals and winter champions

2010-01-16_FCB_-_SEVILLA_001.jpgThe last time Messi faced Palop was on January 16 this year at the Camp Nou. Barša cruised to a 4-0 win and Messi once again beat Palop twice, and in the process overtook David Villa at the top of the scoring charts with 14 goals. That match was one before the half-way stage in the championship, and left Barša on 46 points, five more than Real Madrid, and thus winter champions with a game to spare.

Palop – a nightmare for Messi and Barša

sevilla-fcb_x31x.JPGBut Messi has not always come out on top against Palop. The Sevilla keeper was decisive in the Copa del Rey duel this year. In the away leg at the Sßnchez Pizjußn and after Sevilla had already won 2-1 in the first leg, Palop prevented Barša from qualifying with a stunning display. He spoiled the day both for Messi and Barša with some miraculous saves. Palop made three crucial saves from Messi efforts, and thanks to him, his own side went into the next round and eventually the final.
Messi, a nightmare for Palop
Iker Casillas, another common Messi victim
The other keeper with a dire record against Messi in the League is Iker Casillas. Like Palop, the Madrid keeper has been beaten seven times by the Argentine. The last time was at the Santiago BernabÚu, when he converted a Xavi assist. The game ended 2-0 to FCB, and thanks to that, they are still leaders now, with just two games left to play.

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