A lot has happened since we last disccused the beautiful game. Nearly a month ago Barcelona was a “mere” 2 points ahead of Real Madrid after a draw away to Sevilla. Barca is now fighting for a treble with only three matches left. La Liga is secure, after Real stumbled and Barcelona maintained their form even at Atletico Madrid. Now all that is left is Athletic Club Bilbao for the Copa and Juventus for the Champions League.
This last month the attacking trident only became more formidable while Real’s looked tired. Barca’s additions over the last two years – Neymar and Suarez – have been tremendous, fit in well with the team, and well worth the departures – cash, Fabregas, Alexis.
Real meanwhile, after a successfull honeymoon season with Gareth Bale and the UCL + Copa double, are griping. Such is the way of things when you are expected to be champions every season. I suppose we shouldn’t look to closely at the disappointment in Real as a sign of anything other than just coming up short, just as the hand-wringing over Barca’s first half of the season was overblown.
Barca easily dispatched a hurting, overmatched PSG side, and then Messi put on a show against the team that humiliated Barcelona two years ago. The first leg he scored two of the sweetest goals ever, and followed that by playing the number 10 role he’s been destined for his whole career. Were it not for a face-saving “win” by Bayern at Allianz, it would have been a full-on blowout. As it was, Barca saved their legs for the then-coming La Liga race. They then wrapped that up nicely with a win away at Atleti, simultaneously pulling away from Real, but exacting revenge by winning at the Vicente Calderon, home of the team that won the title at the Camp Nou last season.