The Camp Nou was buzzing as almost 100,000 fans commemorated Lionel Messi’s 500 goals. It seemed as if the match against Osasuna was a side attraction. The match ended up being enjoyable while putting pressure on Real Madrid to perform. Leo appreciated the gesture, but, as we saw, he wasn’t done yet.
This review comes at a delay because I’ve spent the last two days in a fugue state, waiting to wake up from what surely must have been a culé’s hopeful, feverish imaginings.
Watching FC Barcelona outclassed in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and now facing a must win scenario in El Clásico has finally shown how unbalanced the club has become. With a final in the Copa del Rey still looming, most clubs would feel fortunate to be in a position to win one title let alone the possibility of two at this point in the season, but Barcelona is more than a club. The problem most pressing to the club now is how to utilize the greatest player of all time to his fullest potential with however many remaining seasons he decides to play.
Yes, I know about PSG and that historic comeback. That was truly something special, a magical night at the Camp Nou when we witnessed something that had never happened before. A 6-1 win after being 4-0 down? A stoppage time winner that saw a stadium of nearly 100,000 explode? Sergi Roberto will forever have a special place in the hearts of all Barça fans. Neymar’s undying faith that anything can happen fueled his wonderful play. It was one of the greatest nights in football history – unless you’re a PSG fan, of course.
But la Juve is a different beast altogether.
Barcelona B, leaders of Group 3 of the Segunda División B, continued their impressive march towards clinching top spot with a narrow but immensely valuable 1-0 win over Catalan neighbors Lleida. Gerard’s team was pressed hard by the visitors at the Miniestadi, but an impressive start and some desperate defending in the closing stages was enough to seal the win. The Blaugranas march on unimpeded towards the big goal of promotion.
Barcelona taking on Sevilla at the Camp Nou is a game that, on paper, seemed like it could be massively decisive in the race for the La Liga title as a potential slip up for Luis Enrique’s men. It is understandable that this match-up against Jorge Sampaoli’s side threw up some question marks when looking at the final stages of the league campaign, but on current form and looking at the history of the fixture, Barça winning seemed very likely. And the blaugrana showed it.
It’s not often that someone can say that there is any individual or team that can serve as an example to follow for Barcelona’s first team. Widley regarded as the best team in the world, the Blaugranas are usually the example to follow. At this stage of the season though, with the first leg of the team’s crunch Champions League tie against Juventus, the first team could do worse than take a look down the ladder at Can Barça. Barcelona’s women team and the Juvenil A team, have already gotten to the stage that Luis Enrique’s team aims to reach, and there are a couple of lessons to be learned.
There are times when a football match is nothing but a match, because of a huge gap in quality between the two competing sides. The world of football sees big scorelines, but when the goals run into double figures, history is in the making. The Miniestadi yesterday saw the league leaders go up against Eldense, a side placed rock bottom, but all that everybody expected was a big win for the hosts. Nobody saw the extent of Barça B’s win coming. In the end, the Blaugranas hit a dozen goals past their despairing guests, and made their way straight into the record books of the Spanish lower leagues.
We have now arrived at the climax of the 2016/2017 season. At this point, it is not about getting your money’s worth of entertainment value. It is strictly about results. Results, results, results- results. It’s all that matters. From this point on, Luis Enrique and his men take each game as a final, as each victory goes a long way in the bigger picture. And because this was a win secured away from home, regardless of the opposition, Lucho’s men must take pride that they secured the result, and ensured maximum points were taken.
Barcelona B thrashed Llagostera 4-0 last week to return to winning ways, but everyone knew that last weekend’s travel to Valencia would be a different kind of ball game. A match against a direct promotion rival away from home, is basically, as hard as a task can get for any team. Yet Gerard’s Barça B negotiated their task magnificently. A repeat of last week’s scoreline, meant that the Blaugranas not only got all three points, but did so in triumphant fashion.