How Barcelona broke from jail
It started with one press conference in Spain by under-fire Barcelona coach Luis Enrique. He announced his withdrawal as coach from Barcelona at the end of the current season.
Ever since Barcelona lost the first leg to PSG, there have been inhuman, unfair and sometimes sheer wicked assaults on the poor man, as if he just committed daylight murder.
This was immediately followed by a crushing of Celta Vigo 5-0, with Lionel Messi running haywire. It had been long rumoured that there was discord between the coach and his star players, and a simultaneous near-perfect display after his announcement of departure further set tongues wagging.
Wagging with regards to whether they were really back in form or whether Celta Vigo was just not good enough on the night.
It is definitely the most spectacular comeback in club football history. Barcelona defied all odds as they beat Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 at Camp Nou to become the first side to overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit in the Champions League.
This feat is not just against any average team but versus the now financial French giants and star-studded Paris Saint Germain.
The game v PSG yesterday has not only put to rest doubts as to the continued greatness of this club, but all of a sudden now puts them back on track to win the treble once again. Who would have thought this possible just 48 hours ago and how did they achieve this?
Some sore losers were quick to insinuate foul play, refereeing errors, conspiracy theories, and weakness of the opposition mentally; but does that take away the fact that Barcelona were still able to create loads of goal-scoring chances and mentally push till the last second for the all-important sixth goal?
Barcelona’s pitch at the Nou camp is probably one of the biggest in size in the world, if not the biggest! Barcelona needed to attack andstretch the opposition defence in breadth and depth, and the size of the pitch came in handy as PSG had difficulties playing compact in front of their goal.
Barcelona took the audacious risk of practically playing 90 minutes almost 1 vs 1 in defence, with so much coupled intensity going up front.
This provided space behind the Barca defence for PSG attackers on occasions, who were only able to exploit it once to their peril!
The changes effected by Luis Enrique were exemplary, most especially when he took off one of my all-time greatest midfielders in Andreas Iniesta. It was more than judicious as it brought in and helped sustain pressure on PSG that made them crack.
Barcelona showed that when the going gets tough, Lionel Messi, Neymar Junior, Ter stegen, and company get tough too.
Recently I did caution against writing this team off and must confess that even I, doubted their ability to turn around the 4-0 deficit and rather believed they could save their season by winning the Copa del Rey, Spanish FA Cup, and the La Liga in the summer, but after this unprecedented comeback yesterday to keep their Champions League hopes alive, I believe Barcelona did not just win back their season, but also won more undecided fans and admiration. Above all, they dug themselves deeper into the history books as probably the greatest club ever.