Note: This is a post by tB writer Yazdan Basir. You can congratulate [or argue with] him on Twitter at @yazdan_basir.
He blogs as ThoughtBox. Check out his previous work here.
In football, only a handful of players can craft and dictate a game the way Leo Messi can.
However, in the return leg with PSG, we saw something else. We saw someone else take that responsibility and push the team forward: Neymar da Silva Santos Jr.
What we saw that night was nothing short of legendary. Absolute relentless football from Neymar saw us going through to the quarters last year. and Although, I might’ve said back then, out of emotion, that the future of Barça is in very safe hands and despite that not being the case anymore as there’s a general hatred towards the Brazilian for his antics after leaving, I cannot express what was going through my head watching Neymar take on all those defenders, minute after minute and dribble his way around them, never giving up or losing energy for even a second. It was simply astounding and is, without a doubt, somewhere up at the top of my most emotional moments in football list.
He has his fair share of haters and surely left them with a game to remember. Everything was perfect that night. The atmosphere at the Nou Camp, the noise the fans were making, the tension inside the stadium, the hopes and dreams and possibilities all hanging by a thread. This was genuinely a rollercoaster of emotions and I don’t think I’ve felt anything like this in any game of football.
Then came Roberto’s goal.
There was only one team that could pull this off. And they did.
The pre-match events and everything that happened during it were also interesting:
- Raul and Jese Rodriguez stating that Real Madrid are the true comeback kings and Barcelona is not a team that can pull this off.
- Ramos saying he enjoys when Barca lose and that it helps him sleep at night.
- Di Maria’s premature statement.
- Di Maria’s premature celebration where he ‘shushed’ the Camp Nou after Cavani’s goal to make the score 3-1 (agg). What was he even thinking doing that in front of 93,000 fans?
- Enrique assuring everyone that if PSG can score 4 against us then we can surely score 6 against them.
- Neymar’s bet with his teammates to score at least 2 goals.
- Suarez’s statement when he said that if Barca can score 4 against Real at the Bernabeu, then scoring 4 against PSG at the Camp Nou is also a possibility.
- Verrati and Draxler being cautious in their statements when both of them stated that Barca is better than PSG and Barca scoring 4 goals at the Camp Nou against them is not an issue for the likes of MSN.
- Neymar’s talk with Sergi Roberto discussing the area he should stay in and wait for possible crosses.
Will never forget the date: 03/08/2017.
Visca el Barça.
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images