What's buzzing:

Dirty Tackle

Mark van Bommel says Milan believe Leo Messi wouldn’t do as well in Serie A

Dirty Tackle

View photo

.

(Getty)

Lionel Messi has never scored against an Italian club from open play. In nine matches against Serie A teams, he has scored three times -- all of which came from penalties against Milan in the Champions League last season (Barcelona played Milan a total of four times in the group stage and quarterfinals). According to former Milan midfielder Mark van Bommel, this fact was not lost on the Rossoneri before their 2-0 win against Barca in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.

From Goal.com:

Van Bommel, who spent the 2011-12 season at San Siro, has claimed that he and his colleagues at Milan were of the opinion that Messi would struggle to score more than 30 goals in a campaign if he played in Italy.

"Three quarters [of the changing room] thought he would score definitely less [than 30 goals a season in Serie A]," Van Bommel told Algemeen Dagblad.

"And that's me included, yes. Serie A is just a very different approach to football. You can still neutralise sides like in no other league.

"It was only last year that Messi scored his first goal against an Italian club. This is no coincidence."

Of course, 30 goals is a high ceiling and 99.999999 percent of players would struggle to score that many in any league, but Messi has topped that figure the last four years in a row in the more defensively lenient La Liga. He scored a record 50 league goals last season (Zlatan Ibrahimovic led Serie A with 28) and already has 37 in 24 matches this season (Edinson Cavani leads Serie A with 18).

So when Andy Gray suggested that Messi would struggle on a cold night at Stoke, perhaps he should've said Siena?

View Comments (38)
  • FIFA congress resumes after bomb threat in Zurich

    ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss police said on Friday they were investigating an anonymous bomb threat at the FIFA congress in Zurich that led authorities to search the premises. The threat was made by telephone to a Zurich-based newsroom on Friday … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 25 seconds ago
  • FIFA's culture needs to change says one of its own bosses

    By Mike Collett ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA's culture must change if it is to reclaim its credibility as an open and honest organisation, one of its own senior officials told delegates at its annual congress on Friday. After FIFA president Sepp … More »

    Reuters - 7 minutes ago
  • THE LATEST: Qataris defend integrity in 2022 World Cup bid

    THE LATEST: Qataris defend integrity in 2022 World Cup bid

    8:10 a.m. EDT) Qatar is defending its integrity in its first statement since Swiss police on Wednesday opened a criminal investigation into FIFA's awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar. Qatar's World Cup committee … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • Blatter says vote for Russia, Qatar the root of FIFA crisis

    Blatter says vote for Russia, Qatar the root of FIFA crisis

    The worst corruption crisis in soccer history stems from the governing body's decision to award Russia and Qatar the next two World Cup tournaments, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Friday. Blatter spoke at the FIFA congress hours before the … More »

    AP - Sports - 12 minutes ago
  • Blatter expected to win re-election despite football corruption scandal

    Blatter expected to win re-election despite football corruption scandal

    By Mike Collett and Brian Homewood ZURICH (Reuters) - World football boss Sepp Blatter was expected to be re-elected on Friday, defying growing calls for him to step down in the face of corruption scandals engulfing the sport's governing body. … More »

    Reuters - 13 minutes ago