Victory over Napoli brought Barcelona to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, but it was still the match Messi played so great. When this “source of oxygen” is no longer available, Barcelona can stand?
There is a ball in the match between Barcelona and Napoli that people will talk about a lot in the years to come. That was the moment when Messi was alone, passing the ball through a Napoli player forest, even El Pulga almost fell. However, the Argentine striker still shot the ball through the extremely narrow gap between the two Napoli defenders and scored a beautiful goal.
That moment is the best testament to the talent and class of genius Messi. Many views say that perhaps, apart from Messi, no one can create such a top ball.
However, not stopping there, at the end of the first half, Messi quickly cut off from behind to steal the ball Kalidou Koulibaly. Then the ball-up phase of the Senegal midfielder (the top Serie A midfielder over the years) became a foul.
Other statistics also indicate the excellence of the Argentine “superstar”. In the match, Messi touched the ball 71 times (no less than the central midfielders), successfully dribbled 7 times, fouled 5 times (the most on the field).
Obviously, Barcelona overcame a nasty rival from Italy but again, that victory was a place to honor Messi. Barcelona’s dependence on El Pulga is getting bigger, especially in important matches.
Let’s see where two satellites next to Messi, Luis Suarez and Griezmann, were in the victory over Napoli. Luis Suarez’s biggest contribution was just a goal on the penalty spot when Messi was hurting in the attack. Left, the Uruguayan star was almost lost during the match. Luis Suarez’s passing rate is only 69%, the number is quite bad for the attacking star.
Griezmann was even worse. Although more touching and passing than in previous matches, it was almost harmless. The Frenchman did not even hit the opponent’s goal with any shot.
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s midfield is playing around the shoulder. In this match, the ball control rate of the Catalan team was only 51%. That number is too strange for a controlling team like Barcelona.
It feels like Messi is like an “oxygen source” that feeds Barcelona. And if that “source of oxygen” stops working, the whole body of the “giant” will collapse.
The situation has happened no less than once this season, especially in the post-epidemic period. It has a reason for Barcelona to keep dropping points. Most of them are matches where Messi has been blocked too closely.
Remember, Napoli is not a strong opponent. They only finished seventh in Serie A this season, scoring 61 goals and conceding 50 goals. This is one of the clubs to concede the most in the top 10 of Serie A. So, it is not too strange for Barcelona to defeat Napoli at the Nou Camp.