Christian Pulisic drew more fouls on Tuesday for Chelsea than anyone has in the Champions League since 2011, winning 11 free kicks in a 1-0 defeat that still saw the Blues move past Porto on aggregate.
The last player to reach that mark in the competition was Lionel Messi against Real Madrid in a semi-final victory a decade ago.
Pulisic is beginning to earn more minutes under manager Thomas Tuchel, getting the start vs Porto after playing 90 minutes this past weekend against Crystal Palace, and his ability to outmanoeuvre his opponents with the ball at his feet has proven an asset for the Blues.
Pulisic’s positive performance came two days after he had admitted his 2020-21 campaign has not gone exactly to plan.
The forward went several months without scoring and found himself outside of Tuchel’s lineup until gaining favour in recent weeks.
“It has not been an easy season,” Pulisic said to Chelsea’s official website in the build-up to the Porto match.
“There has been a lot of coming in and coming out and injuries, but I’m feeling healthy and strong right now.”
His boosted form and the strong play of attacking partners Kai Havertz and Mason Mount have lifted Chelsea’s play in the final third ahead of an FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City this weekend.