In front of Salah’s Liverpool for the semi-final return Tuesday (May 7th), Barcelona dreams of the big final of the Champions League in Madrid.
The Catalans want to invite themselves to Madrid! Guided by Lionel Messi , FC Barcelona hopes to book his ticket for a Champions League final necessarily symbolic in the Spanish capital … provided he survives in Liverpool , without Salah, Tuesday May 7th May, 2019 in the semi-final return (9pm French Time).
Dominated but ultra-realistic in the first leg (3-0) , Barça are more than a walk from leg their ninth final of C1 , the first since 2015. And this appointment would be all the more beautiful that It takes place at the Metropolitano stadium, just 500 km from Camp Nou, in the city of the great Real, the eternal rival.
In 2010, when the final was scheduled in Santiago Bernabeu, the other merengue, Barcelona had cherished the hope of being partying. But patatras, the Catalans had dropped in the semi-final against Inter Milan Jose Mourinho (1-3, 1-0).
This time, the opportunity is too good, sums up the middle Ivan Rakitic:
“We know what we want: to play the grand final in Madrid.”
Brand new, Atlético’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium has often smiled on Barcelona, who has been unbeaten since opening in 2017, also winning the 2018 King’s Cup final against Sevilla (5-0).
A very strong symbol
And then there is the very strong symbol that would represent a final in Madrid for the flagship club of Catalan identity, only a year and a half after the failure of the attempted secession of the northeastern region of the peninsula.
Wearing a captain’s armband in the colors of the Catalan flag, the Argentine Messi is careful not to get involved in politics. His dream is sporty: to reach the Champions League final again for the fifth trophy of his career, the sixth in the club’s history.
“Messi flies to the Wanda,” titled the Spanish press in view of the stratospheric benefits of the five-fold Golden Ball, also launched to a sixth title of best player in the world.
In the semifinal to go to Camp Nou, while Barça struggled, the small striker came out to register a double and give a clear advantage of three goals to the Catalans before the second round Tuesday. And club blaugrana, already crowned champion of Spain at the end of April, is more than three games of a resounding triple Liga-Coupe-C1, as in 2009 and 2015.
“We are in a decisive moment and very beautiful, we must be more united than ever,” Messi said.
But nothing is done, he assured immediately. “It’s not final, we will go to a very complicated stage, with a great history,” warned the Argentine, especially as Barça will be deprived in Liverpool of the French winger Ousmane Dembélé, again injured .
The precedents also call for caution: did not FC Barcelona fall into the quarter last year wasting three goals against AS Roma (4-1, 0-3)? And at the same time, Liverpool had not atomized 3-0 Manchester City’s former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola in his den of Anfield?
The Reds remain famous for the miracle of Istanbul in 2005, when they won the European title on penalties at the expense of AC Milan, which led yet 3-0 at the break …
“We have thought a lot about this, especially as we know they have an added advantage here in front of their fans,” Uruguayan Luis Suarez said Monday when he returned to Anfield where he played between 2011 and 2014.
But Liverpool, also engaged in a breathtaking race for the national title against Manchester City, will present without his best offensive assets: Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, injured, have forfeited, leaving the main offensive responsibilities to Sadio Mané, the last survivor of the “Big Three”.
“Two of the best strikers in the world are not available and we have to score four goals against Barcelona to qualify. It does not make life any easier, “said coach Jürgen Klopp, aware that his team will not only have to score, but also prevent Barcelona from scoring. ”
Liverpool also keeps a bitter taste in the evocation of the Spanish capital. Precisely the city of Real, this opponent who, in the final last year (3-1), had deprived the “Reds” of a sixth European coronation.
Madrid? Everyone already sees it.