In a performance of special goals and performances, Lionel Messi stood out as the best performer yet again for Barcelona.
With the game at 3-0, and Messi having already created multiple chances for his teammates, the only thing that was missing from the game was one for the captain himself. And boy did he get it.
As the clock struck 73 minutes, the Argentine received the ball outside the box from Fransisco Trincao, who himself had no idea what was going to happen.
Messi skipped past one, past two, past three, and right at the edge of the box, let go of an absolute thunderbolt, which tore through all air currents, right into the top right corner. Lionel Messi put it right where the devil sleeps.
He removed his shirt to reveal a vintage Newell’s Old Boys shirt with a #10 on the back in tribute to the great, late Diego Maradona, who passed away from a heart attack this week. An emotional, heartfelt tribute from his compatriot, who looked keen to get on the scoresheet throughout the game, and for good reason.
Official: Barcelona squad list to take on Sevilla — Ronald Araujo returns
Barcelona fans have reasons to rejoice as Ronald Araujo returns to the squad list that will take on Sevilla at the Camp Nou as part of gameweek 25 of La Liga. The Uruguayan has been one of the biggest takeaways from this season, breaking through in the heart of the defence. Injuries have curtailed his potential, though, but he returns to the squad list for the first time in five games.
Unsurprisingly, Konrad de la Fuente has been dropped out, with Ilaix Moriba getting a call-up for this game. Elsewhere, Miralem Pjanic, who was substituted off at half-time, has been dropped, with reasons undisclosed. His exclusion pretty much guarantees a spot in the XI for Sergio Busquets.
Gerard Pique was subbed out early in all three games he has played after returning from injury, and makes the squad list for this crucial tie. He is expected to get the nod ahead of Oscar Mingueza, Clement Lenglet, and Samuel Umtiti as the centre-back alongside Araujo.
Full list: Ter Stegen, Neto, Pena; Dest, Mingueza, Pique, Araujo, Lenglet, Umtiti, Alba, Firpo; Busquets, Ilaix, de Jong, Pedri, Puig, Matheus; Braithwaite, Dembele, Messi, Trincao, Griezmann
Absentees: Coutinho (knee), Roberto (calf), Fati (knee), Pjanic
The relationship between Miralem Pjanic and Ronald Araujo has been visibly toxic and it seems it has finally come at the cost of the Bosnian’s place in the squad list. It seems imminent that Koeman trusts Ilaix, a 17-year-old Barcelona B player more than a seasoned veteran like Pjanic. We can just hope that the teenager’s dynamism comes in handy against an extremely well-drilled Sevilla.