BARCELONA: Leo Messi started Barcelona’s Champions League second round return against Bayer Leverkusen having scored 49 goals in international competition for the Spanish, European and world champions. Could he make it 50? Not only could he do that but the Argentinian superstar scored no fewer than five times in a 7-1 thrashing.
His personal achievement overshadowed the remarkable simultaneous achievement of APOEL who became the first Cypriot team to reach the last eight after beating 4-3 on penalties after the tie had finished 1-1 on aggregate.
Barca had won their own first leg in Germany by 3-1 and were expected to cruise through in Wednesday night’s return match. However, they played with all the usual ambition and Messi became the first player to score five in a single Champions League game while substitute Cristian Tello added two more. Karim Bellarabi managed a consolation for Leverkusen in added time.
Messi was the 11th player in the overall history of the competition to score five goals in one goal.
The others were:
Ove Olsson (Gothenburg), 6–1 against Linfield, preliminary round, 1959–60
Bent Løfqvist (B1913), 9–2 against Spora Luxembourg, preliminary round, 1961–62
José Altafini (Milan), 8–0 against Union Luxembourg, preliminary round, 1962–63
Ray Crawford (Ipswich), 10–0 against Floriana, preliminary round, 1962–63
Nikola Kotkov (Lokomotiv Sofia), 8–3 against Malmö FF, preliminary round, 1964–65
Flórián Albert (Ferencváros), 9–1 against Keflavik, preliminary round, 1965–66
Paul Van Himst (Anderlecht), 10–1 away against Haka, first round, 1966–67
Gerd Müller (Bayern Munich), 9–0 against Omonia, second round, 1972–73
Claudio Sulser (Grasshoppers), 8–0 against Valletta, first round, 1978–79
Søren Lerby (Ajax), 10–0 against Omonia, second round, 1979–80
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