With Atlético fired, Barça caught Madrid the day the country was arguing about Messi’s contract. The 10 has always been rich, or if you want it charges more money than any footballer, in the bonanza and also in the poverty of Barcelona. Before, he scored goals at the start of a throw-in, after dribbling Balenziaga, Mikel Rico, Beñat and Laporte, as happened in the 2015 Cup final. Nobody asked then about the rosarino’s salary because Barça did not stop count titles, even Champions. Until the Barça team has stopped succeeding with the passage of time and has started to debate whether the Argentine, at 33 years old, is a ruin for the club because his goals are now by fault, and not by play, and now They do not serve to win games but need the help of teammates like Griezmann to sing victories against opponents like Athletic. Barça’s life continues to revolve endlessly around captain Messi while De Jong continues to grow.
Clinging to the 10’s sheepskin, Barça went for the game without reservations, splendid in anticipation and pressure, more aggressive with the ball than Athletic. Although the absence of Busquets and the strong wind, the worst of football’s enemies, played against the fast and precise game, the Catalans compressed the court and easily reached finishing positions against Unai Simón. He did not know how to defend Athletic, overwhelmed and passive, repetitive in tactical fouls and blocks, some so obvious with and without the ball that they led to the intervention of Mateu Lahoz. Thus came the 1-0 after two occasions by Messi, one well resolved by the hand of Unai Simón.
The ball hovered around the left flank of the Barça attack with Griezmann in front when the referee whistled a foul in front of the area’s balcony after Vencedor prevented Messi from advancing. On the 10th he put the leather in the left corner of the Athletic goal. The ball slowly and cleanly cleared the barrier, Muniain’s body to ground and Yeray’s protection from the post. The Barça fans ruled the party with authority and without opposition, from the recovery and the elaboration, sometimes in a fluid way and sometimes directly, to the space or to the foot, depending on whether the metronome was De Jong or Pjanic. Barça needed Dembélé to finish the plays well to finish off an innocuous Athletic. Reached the rest, there was no news of the team of Marcelino, lucky with the 1-0.
The rivals know that Barça always grant chances due to their defensive fragility, manifested on the wings, always harassed by players who know them all like De Marcos. Raúl García caught Mingueza’s back and crossed a center that Alba finished off in Ter Stegen’s goal against the harassment of De Marcos, who was always decisive against Barça. The goal stunned the Barcelona fans for a moment, who lost fluidity and acceleration, more clumsy in the exit of the leather, until Messi was activated. On the 10th he escaped from the Athletic marks. No Barça player could beat the splendid Unai Simón either.
The duel was equalized and their luck was at the expense of the changes, fatigued as the two teams were, less and less fine, pending their unbalancing players or surprise, few like Dembélé. The French winger went deep on the right for Mingueza to enter after a patient play and the center of the side was finished off by Griezmann, excellent as a striker, timely as a finisher, successful against Athletic. Barcelona, however, find it difficult to play with the scoreboard in favor because they do not know how to rest with the ball, it burns them and they pay for surprising defensive exercises if their card of nature and recklessness is taken into account when the opponent knows how to cross and shoot very good head as it happens with Athletic.
Marcelino charged the attack in search of the lift already lived in the Super Cup and Koeman put a third central as Lenglet when he saw Villalibre on the field. Although Ter Stegen always trembles against Athletic, the Barcelona fans defended their area as if their lives were theirs on their return to the Camp Nou after eight consecutive outings and were at the same height as Madrid in LaLiga, both 10 points behind Atlético. Although he is not yet to win titles – Koeman’s word – there are therapeutic victories and necessary for the footballing health of Messi and Barça.