When Lionel Messi surprised the world by shaving his beard after the restart, many were quick to draw comparisons to his younger 19 year old self. Also, at the same time many were sceptical whether Messi could actually be as good ever again? Fast forward to Champions league knockouts, round of 16, F.C. Barcelona vs Napoli. On the back of 12 successive quarter finals, F.C. Barcelona were always the clear favourites to go through. But, Napoli had other plans and looked to capitalize on an injury struck Barca defence. But Leo Messi had other plans. The Argentine born winger subtly reminded the world why he was simply the worlds best.
It was only the first Barca goal where Messi was not involved. He took the game by surprise when he made his way through three defenders and netted in the bottom corner while he was loosing his balance. And yes, one of the defenders was Koulibaly, considered as one of the best in Europe.
The Barca skipper, was controversially denied a second goal when VAR felt the ball had touched Messi’s arm band in the build up to goal. Leo Messi came back strong and won a penalty for Barcelona after picking Koulibaly’s pocket in the penalty area.
Leo Messi spoke to his team during half time
“We have a two goal advantage, let’s not be dumbasses (pelotudo is a hard word to translate, used in Argentina). Let’s play calm”
FC Barcelona, are infamous for letting a good control of the game slip by. The 6 time Ballon d’Or winner was having none of it this time around. He urged his team to remain calm and they adhered to their captains words.
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