Messi transforms life into art
“Messi is exceptional – over 90 minutes he didn’t miss one first touch. At some point in sport you have to admire art,” said Arsene Wenger after seeing Arsenal his side dumped out of the Champions League by Barcelona on Wednesday.
Wenger was magnanimous in defeat despite the huge pressure the result puts his position at the Emirates in, describing Barca’s front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr and Luis Suarez as “the best strikers I have seen.”
“Exceptional” Messi, Neymar and Suarez all scored in the 3-1 win that knocked Arsenal out at the last 16 stage for the fifth consecutive year.”
MAGIC TRIO ‘CREATE CHANCES FROM NOTHING’
“I think the performance and the quality of our game was good,” said Wenger after the defeat at the Nou Camp. “I’m disappointed with the result; we played against a team with the best strikers I’ve seen. The three together are exceptional.
“They can create chances from nothing. From the bench at 1-1 they were wobbling a little bit and they weren’t secure,” continued Wenger. “We could not take our chance to score the second goal that would have put us in a strong position.”
Instead it was Barca who scored the all important next goal with Suarez continuing his blitzing run with a brilliantly executed volley straight into the top corner of the Arsenal net – the Uruguayan’s 42ndgoal this season restoring the lead established by Neymar’s earlier strike.
Messi ended any lingering hopes the Gunners had with an impishly impeccable dinked finish to make it 3-1 and a goal each for the magic trio – taking their combined tally of goals scored this season to 106; extending Barca’s winning run in the Champions League at home to ten straight; and, making it 38 games since the Catalans last tasted defeat.
THREE AMIGOS AS GOOD AS REAL
It’s the form that makes them favourites among online punters and tipsters to become the first team since AC Milan to retain their Champions League crown – as well as repeating the triple with La Liga and the Copa del Rey all within their sights.
Coincidentally, the 106 goals scored by Barca’s Three Amigos alone equals the entire goals scored this season so far by bitter rivals Real Madrid.
SUFFERING THE EXCEPTIONAL
“We created plenty of dangerous situations but we couldn’t take the chance. As well, Barcelona going forward, the accuracy of their passing, especially Messi, is exceptional. Over 90 minutes he didn’t miss one first touch. At some point in sport you have to admire art. They have two or three players who transform normal life into art and I respect that. Of course, for me it’s suffering but it’s exceptional.”
‘WE HAVE UNIQUE PLAYERS’
Barca boss Luis Enrique was succinct in his summation and revelatory about the philosophy underpinning his side’s success. “It’s obvious we have unique players. We have players that on their day can solve many situations.
“But I believe the importance of this team is these players also work as a team offensively and defensively.”
By: Joe Cahal