Barcelona were excellent in the second leg of the Champions League tie with Paris Saint Germain and, at one point, I even thought they would mount another epic comeback and overturn the 4-1 deficit from the first match.
They created many chances to score, as Ousmane Dembele snatched two important opportunities and Lionel Messi missed a penalty. If Barca had gone in 2-1 up at half-time PSG would felt very uneasy and the visitors would have been in with a chance in the second-half. But it wasn’t to be and the French team tried to contain them and run down the clock after the break.
Barca can still win La Liga
Barça are out of Champions League but they’re playing much better than they were a few weeks ago and are showing great attitude and confidence on the pitch. They must keep believing that they can win domestic titles this season.
With a Copa del Rey final secured and Atletico Madrid just six points ahead in La Liga, Barcelona still have two competitions to contest and I’m confident that there are is a good chance they’ll be celebrating at the end of the season.
Furthermore, the recent election of new president Joan Laporta – well known by the players and with a winning pedigree at the club from his first stint in charge – always gives a boost to the group and raises their confidence and sense of responsibility.
The election of Laporta, who I backed for the presidency, should reignite the club and the fans’ hopes of keeping Messi at the club. Laporta and Messi have a good relationship and the Argentinian attacker enjoyed the best times of his career under Laporta’s previous presidency, collecting many medal.
I’m sure Messi will be more open now to discussing his future with the club and who knows if they can reach a deal?
Of course, if he already has something agreed with another club – such as Man City or PSG – it will be much tougher, but we don’t know anything about it yet, so everything can happen until the summer.
With Laporta taking the reins the chances of Messi continuing at Barcelona significantly increase.
Ronaldo and Messi exit as Haaland and Mbappe step up
Just like everything in life, time takes its toll in football and the fact we don’t have Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2005 confirms that no player’s talent is immortal.
With both in their mid-30s it’s natural that it will become tougher for them to make the difference as often as they did before.
But that also means that younger talents are starting to make the headlines and I must highlight Erling Haaland who has been fantastic this season for Borussia Dortmund. He is definitely a Ballon D’or contender in the near future.
The same can be said about Kylian Mbappe who beat Barcelona almost by himself with an astonishing performance at Camp Nou. He was quieter in the second-leg but I’m sure he will show up again in the latter stages of the competition.