Barcelona's Lionel Messi finally answers 'rainy night in Stoke' question

Despite winning trophies galore, scoring an incredible number of goals and shattering almost every single domestic football record that has ever stood, there has always been one nagging question that has loomed over Lionel Messi's entire career to date.

Would he be able to replicate his peerless Barcelona form were he forced to play on a cold, miserable weekday night in Stoke? It's the benchmark that all the greats must strive for.

Having systematically dodged the question for many years, Messi has finally broken his silence on that matter.

During an interview on Revista de La Liga, Stoke forward Bojan Krkic was asked by journalist Guillem Balague as to whether his former Barca teammate Messi would relish the prospect of playing at the Britannia.

"Messi can do it!" Bojan replied. "I understand that teams don't like to come to the Britannia Stadium, especially in winter with the wind, the cold... and we're a strong team. It's not easy."

Balague then told Bojan: "I asked Messi about that.

"He said, 'Those people that say that should realise I played in awful conditions in Rosario when I was 11 years old, with glass on the pitch, with holes and everything.' And he also played good."

Bojan said: "Of course. If he came to the Britannia he will also play good."

So that's settled then. Messi can finally and unequivocally be heralded as the greatest of all time. At least until Barcelona draw Stoke in the Champions League.