Written by Lee Clarke
Football is a game based on opinion. Which team is best? Who is the best player? What is the best game you’ve ever seen? A beautiful game pulled together by people all over the world happy to express an opinion one way or another.
Of course those die-hard supporters of their beloved clubs will always vouch for their own, a commitment to the cause of, in some cases, their one and only love – their football team.
Remember the date: Wednesday 8th March 2017, the time when allegiances were put to one side and the whole world came together to appreciate a remarkable achievement by a truly magnificent team.
Luis Enrique, the Barcelona manager, announced last week that he would be leaving the club in the summer. Many have predicted that the players weren’t playing for him anymore, whilst others cited his style of play as the reason for such a massive announcement. Interesting comments aimed at the leader of such a special side, especially on last night’s evidence.
The Catalan giants went into last night’s Champions League round of 16 second leg with Paris Saint-Germain as massive underdogs to qualify, trailing 4-0 from the first game in Paris, a result which undoubtedly played in the thoughts of Enrique when he was tendering his resignation.
Even the most devoted supporters of the Spanish club could have predicted what would ensue during last night’s return fixture at the Camp Nou.
In drubbing their Parisian counterparts 6-1 they sent out a message to the rest of Europe that they were not ready to relinquish their status as one of the greatest teams that has ever existed, in a competition which is held in such high esteem at the club. A piece of silverware they have won five times, but not recently since their success during 2014/15 when they secured a famous treble.
What made last night’s achievement all the more special is that going into the 88th minute they trailed 3-1, meaning that only three goals would be enough to keep their hopes of winning the Champions League alive.
Of course when you possess Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar – the best front three in the world – then you are always going to have a chance. This, however, was PSG we were talking about, another behemoth of European football.
Had Barcelona overturned a four-goal deficit against, say, Sporting Lisbon then barely an eyelid would have been battered. This was special though, a unique turn of events.
When Neymar added a brace, his second coming in the third minute of stoppage time, it seemed nothing more than scant consolation and it looked as though Barca would rejoice in victory on the night, but ultimately miss out on a place in the last eight.
What happened next was truly unthinkable. PSG were caught trying to play the offside trap and in doing so left Sergi Roberto completely unmarked in the box. A neat turn and a planted volley later and pandemonium ensued in the stands and on the street of Barcelona, with grown men in floods of tears at the monumental occasion which they were witnessing.
Following such a victory it seems written in the stars that Barcelona will claim their sixth Champions League title this season. It would certainly be a crying shame if they didn’t now.
Football is indeed about opinions but last night saw the game’s community come together and celebrate something special, a truly unrivalled achievement from an equally unmatched outfit.
As football fans we should feel privileged to be able to see the current Barcelona side and following last night I am sure they will hold a soft spot in many people’s hearts.
For me, there isn’t another group of players on the planet that matches the contemporary crop at Camp Nou and I am not sure that fans of the Spanish club have ever seen a better side in their time supporting their club either.
Of course, that is just my opinion, but then that’s why we love football isn’t it?
Will Barcelona go all the way? Let us know in the comments below!