Lionel Messi and Jan Oblak did not hide their admiration for each other when they had the chance to tell the world how great it has been to face each other in football games.
Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak was the first to describe Lionel Messi as the best player in the world in a recent interview. The FC Barcelona talisman returned the favor by describing the Slovenia first-choice goalkeeper as one of the best footballers in the world.
Lionel Messi and Jan Oblak have been playing against each other since the 2014-2015 season which was the season Oblak joined Atletico Madrid from Portuguese club, Benfica for just €16 million.
Since then, the 27-year-old Slovenian goalkeeper has grown to become one of the most sought-after goalkeepers in the world which makes him the most expensive goalkeeper with a transfer market value of €90 million.
Between 2014 until date, Lionel Messi and Jan Oblak have faced each other 17 times in all competitions. In those 17 meetings, Lionel Messi has scored against the goalkeeper 10 times, making the Argentine football icon the player who has scored the highest number of goals against Oblak.
“He has scored many goals against me. Too many!” Jan Oblak told Sky Sports. “But he is a great player, an amazing player, the best player.
“There are many times that he scores a goal and you have this feeling that you cannot understand how he has scored so easily. You are not even close. Sometimes it feels like he has just passed the ball into the goal, it is not even a shot.”
In three matches out of the 17 meetings involving Lionel Messi and Jan Oblak, the Slovenian goalkeeper ensured that Messi nor any FC Barcelona player did not score any goal against him. The most famous among the three games in which the goalkeeper recorded a clean sheet was a UEFA Champions League quarter-final match which ended 2-0.
Jan Oblak said the Champions League match was his most memorable moment in football. The most recent clean sheet the goalkeeper recorded against FC Barcelona came this season in a La Liga match. The match which was played on November 21, 2020, ended 1-0 in favor of Atletico Madrid with Messi on the pitch.
“It’s nice to face one another,” Lionel Messi said. “He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world at the moment, and it’s always good to fight against the best ones.
“It’s an extra motivation to be able to or to try to, score a goal, with what it means and how hard it is, as he proves in every game he plays.
“So it’s nice to see him outside but also face him in the games. It makes them more exciting.”
Jan Oblak’s 9 clean sheets in 13 league games this season has helped Atletico Madrid to remain top of the league table with 32 points, the same points as second-placed Real Madrid. While FC Barcelona are currently placed on the 5th spot with 28 points in 14 league games.