Lionel Messi
Messi has already struck the woodwork 17 times this season. Getty Images

Nobody could say that Lionel Messi is suffering a crisis as he remains the the soul of unbeaten Barcelona, sits top of the La Liga scoring charts and, via a stunning assist for Luis Suarez against Eibar, has showed he remains a key provider of goals.

However, the Argentina international eclipsed an unwanted record during the 2-0 La Liga, reaching a milestone that, in any other situation, would be considered as a curse for someone who is used to scoring goals with unerring regularity.

Since the beginning of the season in La Liga, Barcelona's number 10 has struck the post on 14 occasions, a record in the competition. So far, the five-time Ballon D'Or award winner has scored 20 goals in La Liga, 27 in all the competitions for Barcelona, averaging 0.73 goals per game. You have to look back to 2008 for a time when his average dipped below its current level.

Something that started as a footnote – he even registered a "post hat-trick" against Deportivo la Coruña in December – could turn into a problem if the streak continues, moreover ahead of Barcelona facing their most crucial match of the season. On Tuesday [20 February] they face Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League during the toughest period of Ernesto Valverde's tenure.

In fact, it is not only Messi who is jinxed. Barcelona have hit the post 34 times this season in all competitions, from their 40 competitive games. Messi leads the ranking not only in La Liga, but in all matches, with 17. Luis Suárez (6), Gerrard Piqué (3), Paulinho (2), Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic, Gerrard Delofeu, Sergi Roberto, Sergi Busquets, and Philippe Coutinho have also hit the woodwork this term.

You might believe in curses or not, but this week Messi returns to a stadium, Stamford Bridge, where, so far, he is yet to score. Naturally, he hit the post in the game between the two sides in 2006. The pair clash in west London nine years on from the controversial semi-final in 2009 when Chelsea's players claimed injustice after referee Tom Henning Ovrebo turned down a string of penalty appeals.

Sergio Busquets, the master tactician, did not want to speak about referees or curses when asked about the key to survival in the English capital in London. "We will head to the match with confidence," he said according to The Washington Post. "We are having a good season, but that won't mean anything now. We are facing a tie against a great team that won its league last season.

"We know it will be difficult and that we have to play smart for 180 minutes. We will try to analayse how can we hurt them. It has nothing to do with the games we played in 2009 or in 2012. Our squad has not changed so much as theirs. We will analyse them but the most important thing is to score at Stamford Bridge.

"Our will is to score and win in London, they play with three centre backs and three pivots whereas we expect a forward to play alongside Eden Hazard. It will be a tough clash but we will try to do our best. This is, have possession and create chances. It is going to be a very even match." He added: "It will be very entertaining."

After Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur's good results in their respective first legs last week, English football is enjoying a resurrection in Europe and it could be the first time that a single league has five clubs in quarter-finals.

There is little doubt Chelsea have the toughest task of all however, with Messi preparing to get the curse of the woodwork off his back.