Messi becomes youngest Champions League centurion

Lionel Messi has started Barcelona’s clash with Roma on Wednesday to become the youngest-ever footballer to play 100 Champions League games.

The Argentine joins an illustrious list of names – 33, in all – who have hit triple digits in terms of Champions League appearances, including qualification matches.

Luis Enrique selected Messi in his line-up for their first Champions League game of the season, with the 28-year-old forward having scored the winner on Saturday when the reigning Spanish champions saw off Atletico Madrid 2-1 in La Liga.

After beating Juventus in last season’s final, Barca start the defence of their European crown at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, where they beat Manchester United in the 2009 showpiece.

The record for caps in the competition is held by Messi’s former Camp Nou team-mate Xavi, who racked up 157 showings (including qualifiers) in the competition he won four times before departing for Qatar this summer.

In terms of non-qualifying matches, Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas moved level with Xavi on 151 games on Wednesday night.

Messi’s Real Madrid adversary Cristiano Ronaldo, 30, has featured in 120 games to date (including qualifiers) having debuted in the competition two years earlier than the Argentine ace.