A match between Barcelona and the opposition from the north is always sure to be a good one. With Paco Alcácer starting in place of Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi and Neymar up front, the midfield was made up of André Gomes, Arda Turan, and Rafinha. The defense included Aleix Vidal, Gerard Piqué, Samuel Umtiti and Jeremy Mathieu. With Marc-André ter Stegen in goal, the match was off.
The wonderful thing about the beginning of a New Year is that it offers one a very real chance to reflect on past events and work towards improving oneself, both in character and behaviour. In fact, the start of a new year has proved to be so synonymous with self-reflection and betterment that the first question on everyone’s lips post the customary midnight firework display is always one and the same: “What are your resolutions for this year?”. In other words, through what means are you aiming to advance yourself in terms of both characteristics and personality.
And so 2017 has begun. What was meant to be a promising start to the season has now become a rather interesting start to the season. Let us make one thing very clear: this match is not, and was not, doomsday. The truth is, there is still a second leg to be played at Camp Nou, where an MSN explosion is likely. However, this match exposed weaknesses and chinks in Luis Enrique’s armour that have existed since last season’s UEFA Champions League Quarter Final.
What a relief it is to have Lionel Messi on your side. Not only is he a magician on the field, but he also has the ability to be the ultimate decider of games- more so than any player in other player in the world. Is it a coincidence that Leo happened to be the player making the run-on into the box conveniently for Neymar to put in a dinked cross that ultimately led to the first goal? It all looks so simple- so easy. But often it is not. Leo has started the season on fire, scoring 17 goals in 13 appearances, whilst also racking up five assists.
Barça entered matchday 11 with something to prove.
Playing away at Sevilla is a consistently difficult match, and the general mood suggested it might not go well.
Luis Enrique’s men took to the field this afternoon to make a point- that they could manage to come back from an international break and still play at the highest level. And that is exactly what they achieved.
Let’s make one thing clear from the get-go: Yes, dropping two points when we had the chance to gain ground on Real Madrid is a disappointment, without a shadow of a doubt. A quick look at the way Atletico scored makes you want to pull out your hair even more; a completely avoidable goal that was the result of a momentary lapse in concentration from two players (Pique and Mascherano) who were absolute beasts otherwise.
“When I stop enjoying football, I’ll retire” – Lionel Messi, 2012.
Over the years, you look at the players that’ve come and gone, those that gave you joy and pride. You look back and think how it was only like yesterday, they put on their retro-looking jersey for the very first time and stormed the field like wildfire. And for the majority of those players, the ending creeped up over us like a scavenger on a hunt without us even realising it. So let’s take a moment to study the current facts.
Better late than never. We did not voice an opinion on Leo Messi apart from some on-point comments on social media, but the little genius deserves a piece from totalBarça following Argentina’s umpteenth big tournament failure. Leo has put an end to his time with the Albiceleste and the fallout stemming from his decision is still sending shockwaves across the footballing world, even with Wales and Iceland garnering heaps of attention for their indelible displays in Europe.