The Spotify Camp Nou hosted its final game on Sunday night before it heads into a full-fledged renovation. The last-ever match to be played at the stadium as we know it ended in a 3-0 win for hosts and champions Barcelona over Mallorca.
The Catalans recorded a dream start when Ansu Fati scored in the first minute. With Mallorca going a man down early, Barcelona found it easy to net a second goal and extend their lead.
Gavi closed the game in the second half with a stunning strike into the top corner. Barça Universal brings you three talking points from Barcelona 3-0 Mallorca.
1. Ansu Fati, finally
There has been no end to the struggle faced by Ansu Fati this season. The youngster has been far from a starting spot under Xavi Hernandez for a long time now, and the manager cannot be faulted for his decision.
That the young Spanish international is one of the generation’s greatest talents is a fact well accepted. In his short career so far, Fati has broken records for fun and never showed signs of nerves in front of goal.
Everything changed with a painful period of repeated injuries, surgeries and recuperation. It took more than two years for the youngster to finally find regular minutes, but his level has seen quite a drop from his former best.
His lack of regular playing time at Barcelona has caught Fati in a tricky situation off the field as well. The player’s entourage and family are pushing him towards a move away from Catalonia, and while the winger wants to stay, Barcelona’s urgent need to generate money from player sales has not helped his case.
Sunday night’s performance, in that sense, was a much-needed moment in Fati’s season. His display reaffirmed that Barça have a gem on their hands as he single-handedly did the talking in front of the goal.
Fati scored the opener on the night after a lovely sequence of play between Robert Lewandowski and Gavi found him in front of an open net. The goal did wonders for Fati’s confidence and he suddenly looked far more threatening.
His second goal of the night once again came through a spectacular Lewandowski touch. Faced with a difficult angle and a charging goalkeeper, the youngster deftly cut the ball through the near post.
2. A game worthy of champions
Barcelona’s performances since winning the league title have been far from convincing. In two games, the Catalans fell flat against both Real Sociedad and Real Valladolid in flaccid fashion.
The poor run of results was not for a dearth of quality or a string of injuries. Rather, it was a direct consequence of the team’s complacency and lack of interest.
Last night’s display showed the essence of why Barcelona were crowned league champions. The Blaugrana were impeccable in their own right, dominating the game in every sense of the word.
Xavi Hernandez’s men cut through Mallorca like a hot knife through butter. Their every pass seemed a pill too hard to swallow for the visitors and there was no end to the number of chances created in the ninety minutes.
Considering the situation, it was only fitting that the game ended on such a high.
3. The golden farewell
The full-time whistle in the game between Barcelona and Mallorca symbolised more than the end of the game. It was the signal that not only had an era ended but also a special generation of club legends.
It was really about Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba on Sunday night as the two Barcelona leaders bid farewell to the club of their dreams. As they carried the two trophies of this season out onto the ground, they were given a guard of honour by their comrades and colleagues.
Both stars started against Mallorca but were withdrawn in the closing stages of the game to cap off their perfect farewell. Alba and Busquets walked off to 90,000 passionate supporters creating a thunderous round of rousing applause and emotional embraces on the field.
The media is still full of images of the departing legends in tears and being ecstatically lifted by their younger teammates. The duo are legends of the game and two of the finest ever in their respective trades. Barcelona will miss them and struggle to fill the void that results, especially in the case of Busquets.