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.
On Wednesday March 8, Barcelona fans and football fans alike witnessed one of the greatest sporting comebacks ever seen. A comeback against a team, despite their tendency to bottle big European nights, who are definitely considered Champions League heavyweights, Paris Saint-German. Coming back against the Parisians at the Camp Nou always felt far fetched, but never impossible. The French side, who have regularly showed their weaknesses in big moments in Europe, seemed very vulnerable from kick-off in the second leg in Catalonia. Tonight we saw that Juventus are no Paris Saint-German.
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.
FC Barcelona scraped out a 3-2 win over Real Sociedad at home on Saturday for a vital, if not convincing, three points.
FC Barcelona wasted a golden opportunity to go top of the La Liga table as they lost two to nil away to Málaga CF. The team was set up all wrong from the start with an obvious eye towards Champions League play on Tuesday as an excuse. Luis Enrique must shoulder a lot of the blame, but the players themselves must take a serious look in the mirror if there is any doubt why the club won’t win the league this year.
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.