Progress for Barcelona, and yet the spectre of a first trophyless season since 2008 somehow seems to loom larger than ever. They made it past Napoli and into the Champions League quarter-finals, but with the sort of leaden, listless display that makes it almost impossible to envisage them holding aloft the trophy in Lisbon on 23 August. Almost.
That they have even a puncher’s chance is due largely to the man who was again their salvation in this game. Any team with Lionel Messi pointing in the right direction can never quite be counted out, and here it was his unshakeable balance and insoluble will that brought him within three wins of the prize he craves more than any other.
Written by Jonathan Liew
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/aug/08/lionel-messi-scales-heights-to-sink-napoli-and-book-barcelonas-passage under the title “Lionel Messi magic sinks Napoli and puts labouring Barcelona through”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.