Lionel Messi once admitted that his one big ‘regret’ from an iconic career was refusing to go to Barcelona’s 2006 Champions League final celebrations after beating Arsenal.

The Argentina legend has enjoyed a career unlike most and will go down in history as one of football’s greats. Messi has won 44 trophies throughout his career for club and country. The forward’s tally is an all-time record shared with Dani Alves and includes the 2022 World Cup.

Messi won 35 of his incredible 44 trophies during his time at Barcelona and started with the 2004/05 La Liga title. He fired the Catalan giants to 10 Spanish top-flight trophies plus seven Copa del Rey crowns, four Champions Leagues, three FIFA Club World Cups and many more.

Lionel Messi celebrates Barcelona winning 2015 Champions League final vs Juventus
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Injury denied Messi his chance to face Arsenal in the Champions League final

Barcelona won the Champions League title in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015 with Messi on the books at Camp Nou. The 36-year-old also scored in their 2-0 win over Manchester United in the 2009 final. He also scored as the Blaugrana edged the Red Devils 3-1 in the final in 2011.

But Messi would only watch as Barcelona came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 in the 2006 Champions League final. A hamstring injury ruled the forward out of the UEFA showpiece at the Stade de France. He tore the muscle in the Catalan club’s Round of 16 win over Chelsea.

Messi was only 18 years old as Barcelona denied Arsenal a first Champions League title. But the attacker was already a key part of Frank Rijkaard’s squad with eight goals and five assists in 25 games that season. He also started four of his six matches in Europe from eight games.

Juliano Belletti scores for Barcelona v Arsenal in 2006 UEFA Champions League Final without Lionel Messi
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Messi ‘deeply’ regrets boycotting Barcelona’s Champions League celebrations

Emotions were then very high as an injury prevented Messi from meeting Arsenal in his first major final for Barcelona. So much so, in fact, that he refused to attend the Camp Nou club’s celebrations after lifting the Champions League. The forward was gutted to have not played.

While Messi would go on to win three further Champions League titles, he feared his chance to lift the trophy may have gone at the time. But Messi ‘deeply’ regrets how he handled the situation by throwing a strop and boycotting Barcelona’s celebrations after beating Arsenal.

“I regret having done so,” Messi admitted to AS in December 2021. “I did not realise what was happening. At that moment, I was thinking about the fact that I had not played.

Argentina legend Lionel Messi 'regret' at missing Barcelona 2006 Champions League final celebrations vs Arsenal
Photo by Matias Baglietto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“At least, I would have liked to be on the bench that night. Until my injury, I participated in the Champions League journey. I was disappointed. I deeply regret that episode.

“We won that Champions League and I wasn’t sure it would happen again because it is a difficult competition to win. Then, fortunately, I had the opportunity to enjoy it.”

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