June 21, 2021

Messi’s challenge: take Bara to the final phase of Lisbon – La Provincia

The star feeds the hope of fighting for the European Cup and changing the sign of the season

All the eyes of Barcelona are on Leo Messi. No one like him nurtures the hope that a season marked by disappointment and failure, losing the League and the Cup, can be reversed and have a happy ending. “We start from scratch and there are four games that can give you the title that we all want “, assured the Argentine shortly before taking a few days of vacation, convinced that the Barça you can still write your own story this course. The moment of truth will arrive this Saturday with the Naples visit to Camp Nou (21.00 hours) in a match that will end a long wait: 165 days from the first leg at the San Paolo stadium (1-1) and that he must open the doors for Quique Setién’s team to the final phase of the Champions in Lisbon.

The message of 10 seems to have penetrated the group and the defeat of Alavés in Mendizorroza, in the farewell to the League, which reactivated behaviors in the team that seemed forgotten, rekindles the hope that Barça will regroup around the message of their star. ” We took a step forward in attitude and commitment. The first things to always have. We did the main thing, our self-criticism indoors, as it has to be, and we realized a lot of things, “said the Barcelona captain, a speech also internalized by the rest of the squad, as the Dutchman Frenkie has shown de Jong, in the interview published this Friday by the newspaper Sport: “We can win this Champions League. I ask the fans to believe and have faith in the team

Critical spirit

Messi has shown its most critical spirit with the team this season due to the irregularity shown, especially after the COVID-19 stoppage, which has ended up costing Barcelona the league. But he is also the first to have launched a positive public message, aware that Quique Setién’s team also has important weapons to face such a direct competition, heads and tails, where the Barcelona players will not accuse such a short squad so notably.

Defeat in front of Osasuna (1-2) on the penultimate day of the League marked the lowest moment of the Barça fall. From that emotional blow, from the individual talk between Setién and Messi, in which he he coach and the star were conspired to edge the differences and work for a common goal, the Champions, the Barcelona group seems to have understood the opportunity it has in a tournament where the talent of its reference players can be essential.

Featured numbers

Statistics also favor Barcelona, who has not fallen in the round of 16 since the 2006/2007 season against Liverpool. And the Argentine, who this season has maintained his efficiency in front of the door (30 goals) and has also refined his status as an assistant (26), is obsessed in the search for that fifth European Cup (“that beautiful cup”) that he is pursuing. In recent years, to fatten his record (in 2006 with Rijkaard, in 2009 and 2011 with Guardiola and in 2015 with Luis Enrique).

It is in the second round, in addition, the round in which Messi seems to be especially comfortable and has shown its unbalanced condition: with 19 goals scored in 14 games of the total of 114 goals in the European competition. The Argentine ‘crack’ accumulates 12 wins in 12 consecutive games in the Champions League return, all of them at the Camp Nou.


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