In the last match of the Pep Guardiola era at Camp Nou, Barcelona beat their city rivals Espanyol 4-0, with Lionel Messi grabbing the headlines yet again with another majestic performance and a poker of goals. Pep really couldn’t have asked for a better match to say his goodbyes to the Camp Nou crowed.
Here are the ratings for today’s match:
José Manuel Pinto – 6.5
Was very good between the posts with some very good saves, but shaky otherwise. His mistake in the second half would have cost a goal if not for a perfect Mascherano interception near the line.
Adriano Correia – 7.5
Solid defensively and a threat up front with excellent overlapping runs and combinations with the team’s attacking players, namely Messi and Iniesta.
Carles Puyol – 7.5
Had a lot of key tackles and interceptions, saving the team from potential danger on quite a few occasions. He wasn’t very active in this match, but stepped up whenever called upon.
Javier Mascherano – 8
Had a great performance, avoiding a certain goal after a Pinto blunder and being impressively solid overall during the entire match, thwarting Espanyol’s attacking moves time and again.
Martin Montoya – 7.5
Solid defensively and involved in attack, although not as successfully as Alves most of the time. His dribbling and crossing/final pass skills still need to be further refined.
Sergio Busquets – 8.5
A brilliant performance, not only breaking up play as usual but showing some exquisite creative passing as well. He also got the second penalty of the night with his tenacity in the box.
Seydou Keita – 7
Not particularly great, but not bad either. His distribution was good enough, but he lacked any creativity and he missed a quite easy chance to score in the first half after a pinpoint Messi pass.
Thiago Alcantara – 7.5
Didn’t do anything particularly spectacular, but played a very tidy match, with great passing and link-up play with his midfield and attack teammates.
Andrés Iniesta – 8
Had a very good game, with some fantastic touches and passes, tormenting Espanyol’s defenders with his dribbling and dropping deep to organize attacks. He also came close to scoring on quite a few occasions.
Pedro Rodriguez – 7
Wasn’t spectacular and didn’t manage to be as big a threat as desired, but did his usual relentless off the ball work, putting pressure on Espanyol player when the team lost the ball and creating space for his teammates through the middle.
Lionel Messi – 9.5
Another stunning, Man of the Match performance. He scored all four goals of the match – one free kicks, two penalties and a brilliant finish after an exquisite first touch – and could have easily scored at least another one. He wreaked havoc all match long and, had his teammates been more clinical, he could have had a few assists as well.
Cesc Fabregas – 6.5
Put in a decent shift in midfield in his short time on the pitch, although he didn’t have the time to have a great influence on the match. Picked up where Keita had left off.
Christian Tello – N/A
Came into the match in the final minutes and didn’t have time to influence it.
These ratings have been written by Manuel Traquete. He is a lifelong FC Barcelona supporter and a freelance football writer who shares his thoughts @Manueltraquete
Image: JOSEP LAGO [AFP/Getty]