Lionel Messi's shock penalty stats revealed as Argentina legend sets unwanted World Cup record | The Sun

LIONEL MESSI has been breaking records throughout his incredible football career.

Even last week, he joined an elite group of players to appear at five World Cups and is one shy of 1,000 professional matches.

And on Wednesday evening he added two to his long list – but one of those he certainly did not want.

As well as overtaking Diego Maradona on to 22 World Cup matches for Argentina, Messi won a very controversial penalty against Poland as he got brushed on the face by Wojciech Szczesny.

But the Argentina captain, 35, saw his left-footed expertly saved by the Poland goalkeeper – who also denied Saudi Arabia's Salem Al-Dawsari from the spot in his previous match.

That means Messi officially has the worst penalty record of any World Cup player to take at least two penalties since 1966.


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The PSG superstar slotted home in the 2-1 shock defeat to the Saudis in Argentina's opening game in Qatar.

However, he missed his previous effort, in the 1-1 draw with Iceland in 2018.

That time he went to the goalkeeper's right but Hannes Halldorsson guessed right and palmed away to safety.

After his failure against Poland, Argentina scored twice in the second half to win 2-0 and top Group D.

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Messi said: "I am angry for having missed the penalty, I know that a goal changes the whole game and makes you play in a different way.

"But I think that, as a result of the penalty that I missed, the team came out of it stronger, just like the people, who he benched me.

"We played a great game, especially after the first goal, it was all ours.

"We went back to being what we were for a long time and what we were looking for at the start of the World Cup."

Asamoah Gyan is the only other player to miss two World Cup penalties (excluding shootouts) in the same time frame.

However, his efforts against Czech Republic in 2006 and famously against Uruguay in 2010 are balanced out with two converted spot-kicks – scoring past Serbia and Australia earlier on in the South Africa tournament.

For all Messi's greatness – seven Ballons d'Or and 38 trophies including four Champions Leagues and the Copa America – penalties are arguably his weakest area.

In LaLiga for Barcelona, he scored 60 of his 74 at 81 per cent.

In the Champions League, meanwhile, his percentage is slightly lower with 18 goals and five misses from 23.

One of the most high profile of those misses was against Chelsea in the 2012 semi-final, crashing his strike against Petr Cech's crossbar.

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For Argentina, meanwhile, he sent his effort in the final shootout defeat against Chile over the bar.

In total from his 100 penalties in LaLiga, the Champions League and the World Cup, therefore, Messi has scored 79 and missed 21.

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