To put what we have all just witnessed into words will be impossible. But I will do my best.
This will not be a tactical review, as my mind is still coming to terms with the match itself, and I will rather speak on the deeper themes of the events of last night.
We did it. We produced the greatest UEFA Champions League comeback of all time. But how? What exactly happened?
Going into this match, there were few of us who could have predicted what would soon transpire. Sure, we’re culés, but even the most optimistic of us could not have predicted that with seven minutes to go we would score three goals. Those last seven minutes will go down as some of the greatest seven minutes in sport history. Years from now, the question will be, “Where were you when Barcelona produced the greatest comeback of all time?”
The themes of last night’s victory are poetic in nature, and are life themes. That those of us who dare to dream, and have the courage and will to try, will always have a chance at success. No matter the odds.
My personal Man of the Match was Neymar, not just for singlehandedly carrying us to victory, but for the faith he showed before the match. It is rumored that Neymar had predicted he would score two goals, and that FC Barcelona would somehow prevail.
“As long as there’s a one percent chance, we’ll have 99 per cent faith”
Luis Enrique showed similar faith:
“If Paris Saint-Germain can score four, then we can score six”
At the 80th minute, it seemed every wave of attack to be coming from Neymar’s channel. He seemed the only man truly believing we could still turn it all around. And what followed are lessons we can all learn from. Neymar da Silva is not just any extraordinarily talented individual. There is a reason he finds himself in the positions he is in today. As a teenager, Neymar had the world at his feet in Brazil, with virtually every major club in Europe desperate to bring him to their club. The level of belief and character Neymar showed is exactly what has brought him to such extraordinary heights. He believes. In his own ability, and that through sheer will, determination and hard work, that anything can be achieved regardless of odds. This is what separated him from every other talented teenager never to make something of himself, and this is also what separates each of us between those who succeed in life, and those of us that don’t. Courage. It is crucial we look deeper than the entertainment value of last night’s game, and rather at the themes at play.
What does this all mean? Firstly, it cements Luis Enrique’s place in the history of sport and not just football, if it wasn’t already cemented. Lucho had the world turn against him a few weeks ago. He did say after the first leg that he analysed the performance like no other. All of a sudden, we find ourselves somehow through to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, with a Copa Del Rey final still to be played, not to mention that La Liga is back on, as we are currently on top of the log by 1 point, with Madrid now only having played one game less than us and el clásico still to be played). Do you know what I’m thinking? I’m sure you do, so let me not jinx us by even mentioning it.
Like most of you, I am still struggling to process everything that happened. I really am lost for words. As I write this, I have had few hours of sleep– not more than three hours. I got up this morning, still in disbelief, and decided to check the highlights to ensure what happened was not a dream, and in fact real. By the time I saw Neymar’s cross into the box and every blaugrana doing their best to somehow lunge their body trying to reach the ball, as I saw Sergi Roberto’s first touch, I felt a tear drop from my cheek as Roberto managed to lob the ball into the net. It really did happen.
Good morning Barça fans!
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 9, 2017
I cried, not for the match. I cried from the poetry at play. That we each have the power in us to create whatever change in our lives. I feel privileged to be a part of this all, and to walk this journey with all of you. I feel inspired to look myself in the mirror to face the impossible obstacles of my own life, and to be as courageous as Neymar, showing Lucho’s faith, to believe. This is the beauty of sport.
I leave you with my favourite reaction from last night’s victory that sums up my own reaction: Those of you reading this from Barcelona, make sure you drink a ton of water today.