With Barcelona’s past history and key-player Lionel Messi, it was predicted that Barcelona would easily win against Roma and advance to the semi-finals of this year’s UEFA Champions League. Barcelona and Roma had previously versed one another in the Champions League back in November 2015 where Barcelona walked away with a 6-1 win. However, this time the results were very different.
Throughout the season, Messi had missed enough games where people were starting to raise their eyebrows, especially when he was absent from matches against Spain and Italy. It then came out the forward had been trying to work through a hamstring injury. Regardless that the damage was said to be minor, it was obviously a consistent struggle for Messi.
In late March, he looked to be getting back into the swing of things, and despite not starting, he made an appearance in the match against Sevilla. At halftime, Sevilla had a 2-0 lead over Barcelona, but once Messi was substituted in, the tone of the game shifted. The match ended in a 2-2 tie with one of those goals from Messi.
For the Champions League quarter-final against Roma, Barcelona was counting on Messi to play. After all, he is the club’s top scorer with 42 goals. So on April 2, for the first leg match against Roma, Barcelona with the addition of Messi, celebrated a 4-1 victory. It was only expected that Barcelona would dominate the second-leg game. Unfortunately, the club suffered a shocking 3-0 loss against Roma yesterday.
Their elimination from the Champions League comes as a surprise to many, and now fingers are pointed at Messi. Since he’s such a dominant player for Barcelona, if he plays poorly, the whole team is affected. Call it the Domino Effect or call it the Messi Effect, whichever you prefer, but in this most recent game, Messi did not perform to his usual standards, and the match results demonstrate this.
It’s a hard loss for Barcelona, one that has undoubtedly stunned the Messi-led team. Nonetheless, his home country of Argentina celebrates. His supporters are happy because now this will give him a chance to relax before the World Cup in June. His body has undergone a lot of stress so with this rest he can focus on improving his physical state and hopefully put his hamstring injury to bed. The defeat is a disappointing one for Messi, but maybe it was actually a blessing in disguise.