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Lionel Messi admits Barcelona players 'hated' Premier League club more than Real Madrid

Lionel Messi admits Barcelona players 'hated' Premier League club more than Real Madrid

The former Barcelona forward said he "never thought" he would hear himself make such a comment.

Lionel Messi once admitted that Barcelona players "hated" a Premier League club more than bitter rivals Real Madrid – a statement he "never thought" he would say.

The Argentine was only 18-years-old when he decided to go public with the comments.

At the time, there was bad blood between Barcelona and Chelsea following their dramatic Champions League last-16 clash in 2005, when the Blues produced a memorable comeback at Stamford Bridge.

A week earlier, Jose Mourinho made some not-so-subtle comments about referee Anders Frisk after Didier Drogba was controversially sent off in the first leg.

The two-legged clash left a bitter taste in the mouth of Barcelona players. In fact, ahead of their last-16 clash in 2006, a teenage Messi was vocal about Chelsea during an interview with the News of the World.

"There are [Barcelona] players here who hate Chelsea more than Real Madrid," he said.

"I never thought I would hear myself say that. I also never thought I would see something worse than the Boca and River Plate rivalry or Brazil vs Argentina - but this is.

"We would rather play Arsenal, Manchester United or anyone else than be on the pitch with Chelsea."

Messi would go on to produce another out-of-this-world display for the Catalan side, despite being hacked down by Chelsea defender Asier Del Horno, who was sent off for a shocking challenge on the Argentine.

An own goal from John Terry and a late strike from Samuel Eto'o sealed a first leg advantage before they knocked Jose Mourinho's side out following a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou.

Barca would lift the Champions League that year after Juliano Belletti scored a late winner at the Stade de France against Arsenal.

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

Messi later reflected on a 2012 Champions League defeat to Chelsea as one of his biggest regrets in a Barcelona shirt.

“I would have liked to have tried to win another Champions League," he said in 2021, when he announced his decision to leave his boyhood club.

“We got knocked out in the semi-finals by Liverpool which stopped us getting to another final. We got to the semi-final with Chelsea with Pep [Guardiola], they prevented us from getting to another final.

“And I think there could have been another time where we could have won another Champions League.”

Featured Image Credit: Miami Herald - Getty Images

Topics: Lionel Messi, Barcelona, Chelsea, Premier League, La Liga