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?

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Real coach Zidane stays positive after rare loss

      Real coach Zidane stays positive after rare loss

      Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is confident that a first defeat in nine months which ended the club's record 40-game unbeaten run in all competitions will not have a detrimental impact on their season. Real, bidding for their first La Liga title … More »

      Reuters - 21 minutes ago
    • Guardiola has plenty to ponder as Man City exposed again

      Guardiola has plenty to ponder as Man City exposed again

      For Pep Guardiola, the head-scratching just got a little more intense. In the aftermath of Manchester City's 4-0 loss at Everton on Sunday, when its defensive frailties were once again exposed, the Spaniard wrote off his side's Premier League title … More »

      AP - Sports - 22 minutes ago
    • Real coach Zidane stays positive after rare loss

      Real coach Zidane stays positive after rare loss

      Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is confident that a first defeat in nine months which ended the club's record 40-game unbeaten run in all competitions will not have a detrimental impact on their season. Real, bidding for their first La Liga title … More »

      Reuters - 33 minutes ago
    • El Hadary poised to smash Nations Cup age record at 44

      El Hadary poised to smash Nations Cup age record at 44

      By Mark Gleeson LIBREVILLE (Reuters) - Two days after his 44th birthday, Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary is set to become the oldest player to compete at the African Nations Cup finals and among the oldest internationals in soccer history. El … More »

      Reuters - 1 hour 15 minutes ago
    • El Hadary poised to smash Nations Cup age record at 44

      El Hadary poised to smash Nations Cup age record at 44

      By Mark Gleeson LIBREVILLE (Reuters) - Two days after his 44th birthday, Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary is set to become the oldest player to compete at the African Nations Cup finals and among the oldest internationals in soccer history. El … More »

      Reuters - 1 hour 32 minutes ago