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Barcelona vs PSG - A 6-1 Starting Of Disaster

Updated: Jul 3

On March 8, 2017, football witnessed one of the most dramatic and unforgettable matches in the sport's history. Barcelona was on the brink of elimination in the round of 16 in the Champions League. This club had just won the treble a year prior and had a utopian front three of the South American trio Messi-Suarez-Neymar famously known as the MSN, Barcelona were thumped heavily by the Unai Emry side in Parc De-Princes, with PSG scoring 4 goals past Ter-Stegen. All media cameras focused on the troubled faces of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Enquire who were later where heavily criticised by the Spanish press. 

Barcelona vs PSG? - the starting of a debacle

FC Barcelona hosted Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Camp Nou in the second. What unfolded that night wasn't just a football match; it was an event that defined an era, It defined the very fabrics of what FC Barcelona were made up of. 

The Context of Barca vs PSG

The first leg of the tie, held at the Parc des Princes, saw PSG humiliate Barcelona with a staggering 4-0 victory. The Parisians, led by Unai Emery, were in imperious form, with Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler running riot over a beleaguered Barcelona side.

The result left many believing that the tie was effectively over. A 4-0 deficit in the Champions League knockout stages had never been overturned. There is always a lengthy gap of more than 2 weeks between the “Home” and the “Away” game of the Round of 16 games of the Champions League. This was the time the media played an effective role because they didn’t just criticise Barcelona but tore apart Luis Enrique, the then coach of FC Barcelona.

A few days before the debacle happened in Paris, the Director of wrote a piece in the paper about how “Barcelona are losing their identity”. The paper argued how the passing and possession have been changed and the passing ability of the individuals has vanished instead of playing fast-paced counter-attacking football and moving the ball to their star attacks (Neymar, Messi, Suarez) quickly. In short, Barca was losing their tiki-taka ability in 2017.  

Well, we can say this did happen and Barca looked somewhat lost in that thumping defeat to Paris. Instead of looking that killer passes and possession-based, wide-angled football Barca tried to counter and played backwards passing for most of the game. 

Luis Enrique was not at fault for the defeat, To blame Luiz Enrique for that defeat as a whole might also seem to be too far as it was the players that should take the responsibility.

Because there was an unbalanced midfield Paris took good advantage of it by playing the balls staring through the gaps, this was also the period when Barcelona’s icons like Pique and Iniesta looked like they could be near the end of their career. Di Maria came out as a hero from the game scoring a banger of a freekick. 

Newspapers around the world flashed the news of this debacle with MARCA printing “DISASTER” on the front cover of their magazine, the media came back to the point again criminalizing Enrique to have been the culprit who lost “Barca’s DNA”

How did Barca manage to trash PSG with 6 goals?

To be honest, this match would not have been the match if it was not for Neymar, He played a role that had a far greater impact than Messi or Suarez in that game.

“Neymar” played “Total Football” instead of the tricks and flicks we usually see, He was fully concentrated on scoring and creating chances. The exact reason why Neymar was going to be the highest market-valued player ever in the history of the sport. Luiz Enrique had already enlisted the mentality of “If they can score 4 we can score 5”, A much-needed mentality from the players. 

The scrutiny Barca team received because of the defeat in the first leg from the whole world was enough for them to realise this was a “do-or-die” match. 

In the third minute, Luis Suarez opened the scoring with a header, igniting the flames of hope. The early goal was crucial, giving Barcelona the belief that the impossible might just be achievable. In the 40th minute, Layvin Kurzawa's own goal doubled Barcelona's lead, and by halftime, the dream was becoming a possibility.

The second half saw Barcelona continue their assault on the PSG goal. In the 50th minute, Lionel Messi converted a penalty, making it 3-0. The aggregate score now stood at 4-3, and Barcelona were within touching distance of an unprecedented comeback. 

Camp Nou was dead-drop silent when Edinson Cavani scored for PSG in the 62nd minute, the aggregate score moved to 5-3, and it seemed like the final nail in Barcelona’s coffin. The away goal meant Barcelona needed three more goals to advance, which appeared impossible with less than 30 minutes to play.

This is exactly where Neymar came to play, the freekick he scored might be the most important freekick and career goal he has ever scored, It triggered the spirit back into the lives of the player, All it took was for players to move front and Neymar finding Sergi-Robetro. The ball was in the “back of the net”.

A witness say “If you were in Camp Nou, It felt like an earthquake when the ball went it”

The miracle was done, the comeback was complete, and the press was there ready to heap praise on the team, fans beaming, firecrackers all around Barcelona. 

But what happened Next? Surely Champions League right?

What happened After the 6-1 win?

For Barca fans, it meant that the team is exactly how they want their Catalonian club to be represented “A true example of patience, preservance, mentality”. "To fight until the very end “. 

It also gained importance because their arch-rival Real Madrid had just won the Champions League the previous season and Barca winning matches with this margin against a strong PSG side helped them put out the statement that they were the one to look out for. 

WIth famous Italian Newspaper “La Gazzetta Dello Sport” Printed the cover with a Barca image with the headline “incredibile rimonta del barcellona” that translates “Incredible comeback by Barcelona. 

However apart from Barca fans, football fans around the world especially the Parisians were in an absolute dilemma about the refereeing decision that was put out during the game. 

The referee was heavily criticised by the opposition fans because of the various mistakes that were underlooked by the referee, which might be because of the mountainous pressure that comes with refereeing this kind of match, It is to be noticed that referee Deniz Aytekin was banned by UEFA from further officiating any matches. 

The penalty which was won by Luiz Suarez was heavily criticised by the opposition fans as from many angles it looked like an attempt to manipulate the referee. 

A shocking revelation came 3 years later when UEFA reportedly admitted that the referee might have aided Barca in that historic win. 

This match can be taken as the greatest match in the history of Barcelona history and also can be put as the darkest of the match in Barca’s history as this was a particular match that was the beginning of the very end.

The Starboy felt Left Out.

It was all Neymar in that match but it is not possible that the media would overcast the biggest Barcelona legend of all time “Lionel Messi”, Messi became the face of what was sort of a magic created by Neymar. All media focused entirely on that particular photo that was taken during the celebration of Roberto’s goal.

It concluded after the season was over, Neymar left Barcelona as he saw no one could replace or beat Lionel Messi in Barcelona, he had to look for other options. Hence we saw that historic transfer of the most expensive transfer of all time. PSG bought the very player that knocked them out a year later for a record-breaking price of $222 million. The famous MSN was broken with only Messi and Suarez left behind.

In Conclusion

This match did more harm than good for Barcelona. They were knocked out brutally by Juventus in the next round with a 3-0 goal deficit. Neymar left for Barcelona making them more vulnerable against strong teams, and this was the very start of the trail of the unholiest exits from the Champions League for Barcelona, As more humiliating results were to come for Barcelona in the future. 

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