Leo Messi has a special relationship with Atlético Madrid, the team that are visiting the Camp Nou this Sunday evening (19.00). On one hand, the most negative for him, the 'colchoneros' are the team that have won against him most times in the Liga. In as many as four of the 12 occasions the teams have faced each other with Messi on the field, Atlético have triumphed: 1-3 in Messi's first match against them in 2006, 4-2 in 2008, 4-3 in the following season and 2-1 in 2010. Of those four defeats, Messi only scored in the 4-3. When he's not on top form against Atlético, Barça lose. If he finds the net, his team wins and often by a considerable margin. There have been no draws in Messi's time. In the other eight games, the Argentine scored at least once and bagged a hat-trick twice.
The next team that has tasted victory the most against Messi's Barcelona is Real Madrid; they've done so three times. Then, on two, are Getafe and Villarreal. Meanwhile Osasuna, Numancia, Hércules, Espanyol, Mallorca, Real Sociedad, Zaragoza, Sevilla and Valencia have done the same once. In total, Messi has tasted defeat in 20 of the 229 Liga matches he's played in over nine seasons.
On the other hand, Messi has some much more positive memories of Atlético. They're the team he's scored against most in the Spanish league; a total of 15 goals. They're his preferred victim. Against Zaragoza he's put his name on the scoreboard 13 times, against Racing 12, against Mallorca and Sevilla 11 and against Real Madrid, Valencia and Osasuna 10. Overall, Messi has scored against 30 different teams in the Primera División and the only teams that escaped his fury were Cádiz, Murcia and Xerez. He'll have to wait some time to settle accounts as none of those opponents are in the top flight at the moment.