Following the dismissal of Ernesto Valverde, Barça captain and star Leo Messi made an unoptimistic outlook for the Champions League. “Right now we can’t fight to win it. To do that we will have to grow a lot as a team “, said the Argentine, honest with the benefits that the team had offered during the first part of the course. Eight months and a confinement later, and with the League already in the hands of Real Madrid, the Barça team keeps alive the hope of the highest European competition once they have beaten Napoli in the round of 16. With the wounds of Rome (2018) and Liverpool (2019) still half open, the glory in Lisbon is possible – despite the difficulty of Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals – thanks especially to Messi. The team has not improved much since January, but if the 10 is able to play as it did yesterday, the Germans will surely suffer to defend their status as favorites.
Bump with Koulibaly
Yesterday at the Camp Nou, Messi did not need the rumor of the public to show that, despite the logical doubts, he will exhaust his entire repertoire to try to win his fifth Champions League with Barça. He moved freely between the lines, pressed like on the big nights and obviously related to the goal. He made it 2-0 in a play in which he paid homage to himself, progressing with the ball stuck in the boot, holding on to the onslaught of rivals and rising from the ground to send an infallible shot into the goal of Ospina. As in the 2015 King’s Cup final against Athletic Club. The subsequent celebration sounded as ambitious as that of the second goal he scored after a brilliant pass from De Jong and which Çakir nullified by very dubious hands in control.
Plugged in as on the big occasions, “smelling blood”, as Martino said about him, the Argentine also relied on his instinct to squeeze an exit from Koulibaly and provoke a penalty that the referee took almost five minutes to point. He stole the ball from the center of Naples and, in return, received a very strong kick to the Achilles tendon – fortunately, of course – which conditioned him for the rest of the match. Messi completed the 90 minutes on the pitch, but from the action that provided the 3 to 0, the work of Suarez from 11 meters, no longer finished turning round. “I saw Messi well. It has a strong blow. I understand you should have no problem. We will analyze it, but there will be no problem “, said Setión about the state of health of his best player. The Cantabrian coach knows that Barça’s meager options against Bayern depend to a large extent on him.
13 goals for Italian teams
Messi scored his third goal in this edition of the Champions League and also adds a new victim to a long list of teams that have received from their offensive repertoire. Napoli, a team that will always consider him worse than Diego Armando Maradona, had never conceded his goals. In fact, he joins a fashion especially followed by Italian clubs, which he has beaten 13 times. Milan is his favorite catch, with eight goals. In second place are Juventus and Roma, with two each. And now, in third, enters the set of San Paolo. For now, he is resisted by Inter, with whom he has faced four times, all without goals.