By Anthony Lopopolo
The stats didn’t give Barcelona much of a chance. The oddsmakers turned on them. The people criticized the club, virtually preparing for their burial. No team had managed to overturn a two-goal deficit in the Champions League without the benefit of an away goal. Barcelona had never capsized a 2-0 deficit in Europe. And Lionel Messi had never scored against an Italian club from open play. Not often do Barca, and Messi, need a game to silence critics, but if there ever was one, it happened Tuesday night.
Presumably, only Barca could’ve played so confidently with all that racket. They’re so strong-willed. They didn’t want any negative energy: come support us or go home, Gerard Pique insisted. And just when some were starting to believe they were losing their lustre — they had lost, before the second leg against AC Milan, three of five games — the Catalans put on a performance to remind the world they are still capable of greatness.
This was not just a case of Barca being Barca. Jordi Roura said so. “Beating Milan 4-0 is not normal for anyone, not even Barcelona. They are a great team and made life very difficult for us,” the club’s assistant manager told reporters. The match was much more than a blowout. It was a game of stark conclusions, one in which we saw true reflections of both clubs: that Barcelona can still play, and that Milan still have much work to do.