A week ago, Camp Nou played host to one of the most historic moments in club football, when Barcelona overcame a 4-0 first leg defeat to trump Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 and dump them out of the UEFA Champions League in the Round-of-16 stage.
It was one of the greatest comebacks in the history of football, leaving Barcelona well and truly in the mix for another Champions League triumph under manager Luis Enrique, in his final season in charge of the Catalan outfit.
While it would be too soon to call out a winner, last weekend’s heroics mean Barcelona will remain in strong contention for the Champions League triumph come May and here are three reasons why:
Boost of Confidence after PSG
It was a magical night at the Camp Nou last Wednesday. Trailing 4-0 to PSG, the Catalans showed the right intent and attitude from the start and within a matter of minutes from kick-off, they pulled one back. Their resurgence continued and when the scoreline was at 3-0, just after half-time, the odds were slashed in favour of Barca going through to the next round.
However, a goal from Edinson Cavani seemed to have dashed the hopes of the home fans. But an exciting end to the match, that saw Barcelona score twice in the last four minutes of injury time, meant PSG were ousted from the tournament.
While there were a few controversial refereeing decisions, the fact that Barcelona kept their spirits alive and kept the fight on tells a great deal about the belief in the team. And when days like this happen, it lifts a team to a new level and the PSG game could do the same to Barcelona, giving them a much-needed push to go all the way.
The Leo Messi Factor
The talismanic Argentine had a quiet day against PSG last week despite managing to score from a penalty, but it is impossible to keep the little magician quiet for long. Messi has been absolutely brilliant for the Catalans and has, on plenty of occasions this season, been the difference-maker, scoring some vital winners and equalisers.
It is not for nothing that Messi is rated as the best footballer in the world. The 29-year old is the leading scorer in the European football’s premiere event this season with 11 goals and his hunger and desire for success is so immense that he can, if need be, carry Barcelona all by himself to European glory by the end of the season.
Let’s Not Forget Neymar
The true catalyst for Barcelona against PSG last week, the Brazilian put in one of his best displays in Barcelona colours. Neymar was truly sensational on the night, scoring two important goals and the all important assist for the sixth goal that clinched the tie in their favour.
It hasn’t been the best of the seasons for the Brazilian international, with the displays like the one against PSG coming few and far in between. However, if he manages to reproduce such performances on a consistent basis for Barcelona, there will not be many who will be able to deal with his flair. And last week, he proved that he can step up when needed and lead Barcelona to Champions League triumph.