UEFA Champions League: FC Barcelona 1-1 AC Milan: Player Ratings

Claudio Villa

A detailed, player-by-player breakdown of Barcelona's 1-1 UEFA Champions League draw with AC Milan at the San Siro on Tuesday evening

Victor Valdés 6.6
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 22
Passes: 15
Pass Accuracy: 80%
Shots Faced: 2
Saves Made: 1

Bostjan says: 6.5

Considering how much time Milan spent in and around Barcelona's penalty box Valdes had incredibly little to do. Technically he was beaten twice, one didn't count because of an offside call, but he could do to little to prevent Robinho from scoring the opener after he was let down by his defense. Valdes can count himself very lucky that Philippe Mexes wasn't able to fully connect with a corner kick after the Barcelona goalkeeper ventured into no man's land and left the net unguarded. He did make one save, but all things considered Valdes didn't look very comfortable in net.

Dani Alves 6.7
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 122
Passes: 80
Pass Accuracy: 90%
Key Passes: 1
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Tackles: 6
Interceptions: 2
Turnovers: 4
Fouls Won: 0

Bostjan says: 6.0

I was very disappointed by Dani in this one. Not only did he just about completely ignore any defensive duties he might have had, he was also very ineffective on offense. He created only one scoring opportunity, with a cross to Messi, which was also the only accurate cross by the Brazilian. Often he was seen jogging back when Milan were on a counter, but I have to give him credit for breaking up Kaka's pass in the 57th minute that would've resulted in a one-on-one for the hosts. Was lucky that Muntari's goal was disallowed for offside after Alves' terrible throw-in led to the chance.

Gerard Pique 5.5
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 80
Passes: 63
Pass Accuracy: 94%
Tackles: 1
Interceptions: 2
Clearances: 6
Aerial Duels Won: 0

Bostjan says: 6.5

Like all of the defense Pique too had anything but a memorable game. He was partially at fault for Robinho's goal as he wasn't able win the battle for the loose ball with the Brazilian, but he was put in a bad spot by his defensive partner. The communication between the two also was poor, but that did improve in the second half, as did Pique's play, who made a couple good plays to stop Milan's attacks. He also bailed out Adriano on a couple occasions who sent a couple errant passes that could've easily led to scoring chances.

Javier Mascherano 5.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 81
Passes: 64
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Tackles: 5
Interceptions: 2
Clearances: 4
Aerial Duels Won: 1

Bostjan says: 6.5

It's difficult to blame anybody but Mascherano for the first goal of the game as it was his "clearance" that gifted the chance to Robinho. Mascherano also should've stayed with Robinho, but he lost him on the edge of the box, and Robinho was suddenly all alone in front of Valdes. The Argentine made another mistake near the half hour mark when he lost Mexes in corner coverage, but the Frenchman couldn't steer the header on goal. Mascherano's play improved markedly in the second half and he probably saved a goal in the last ten minutes of the game with a textbook sliding tackle on Muntari, who as a result of the tackle handled the ball and caused the turnover. His long passing was once again excellent, but none was better that the 60 yard bomb to Alves in the 85th minute.

Adriano Correia 6.0
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 87
Passes: 60
Pass Accuracy: 95%
Tackles: 5
Interceptions: 3
Fouls Won: 0
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/0

Bostjan says: 6.5

Once again Adriano was positioned high up the pitch and once again he was largely unnoticed throughout the game. He lived dangerously with his passing all day even though that won't be seen looking at the stat sheet. Adriano made a couple defensive plays, but his defensive zone wasn't under a lot of threat because both Ignazio Abate and Valter Birsa were very occupied with covering Neymar. But amid all this mediocrity from Adriano the left-back came very close to deciding the game in Barcelona's favor, but after doing well to get open he fired the shot high and wide from close range.

Sergio Busquets 7.2
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 140
Passes: 122
Pass Accuracy: 93%
Tackles: 3
Interceptions: 2
Key Passes: 3
Fouls Won: 4
Aerial Duels Won: 3
Turnovers: 2

Jordan says: 8.5

Another match, another dependable, excellent performance from the brilliant Busquets. Reliable throughout, Busquets provided excellent distribution from the back while snuffing out Milan counter attacks. Under Gerardo Martino, Busquets’ role has expanded significantly. No longer just a simple square passer, Busquets now performs much of the classic "Xavi" role -- initiating play in the buildup phase. Against Milan, Busquets chose when to play forward passes into the feet of the forwards and when to play short to Xavi or Iniesta. In the defensive phase, he’s trusted to decide when to drop in and form a back 3, and when to step out to press. It was typical to see Busquets everywhere in the match, including a beautiful tackle on Kaka in the corner. Aside from a nearly costly giveaway (which was probably a foul), Busquets was flawless. Swiftly becoming Barca’s most important player besides Messi, his level of consistency is astounding.

Xavi 6.5
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 139
Passes: 130
Pass Accuracy: 97%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Turnovers:2
Key Passes: 2
Fouls Won: 1

Jordan says: 7.5

As is increasingly becoming the norm, Xavi vs. Milan was serviceable rather than spectacular. He was nearly perfect with his passing, and nearly recorded a gorgeous assist to Iniesta. It’s becoming clear that Xavi can’t dominate a game like he could a few years ago, but what he still provides the team is fantastic passing range, experience, a cool head, and positional excellence. He demonstrated these characteristics well against Milan, and put in a good shift pressing the opposition. Had a few first and second touches been better from the Barca forwards, Xavi could’ve changed the game in a way similar to his form of a few seasons ago.

Andrés Iniesta 6.6
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 106
Passes: 99
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Shots/Shots on Target: 2/1
Fouls Won: 1
Turnovers: 1
Key Passes: 2
Successful Dribbles: 0

Jordan says: 7.5

As with his midfield partner, Iniesta was excellent at pressing the opposition, and it paid off when he capitalised on a Zapata mistake and found Messi in acres of space on the right to level the game at one apiece. Tidy as usual, however, Iniesta is still adapting to his role as a vertical outlet in Tata Martino’s Busquets-focused midfield. While brilliant at maintaining possession, he wasn’t able to break Milan’s solid, organized block. He also spurned a glorious Xavi pass which could’ve broken the deadlock and given Barca the lead. Similar to Xavi, Iniesta was good, not great. He certainly hasn’t found the form of last season, and his final ball is lacking its usual razor-sharpness. Assist aside, and honesty, Robert Huth could’ve found Messi in that much space, Iniesta’s eye-of-the-needle passing hasn’t been there. But he was still great in possession and most take for granted how well he keeps the ball and contributes to the absolutely stunning level of dominance Barca maintain. A solid performance from the former European player of the year.

Alexis Sánchez 6.0
Minutes played: 74
Touches: 49
Passes: 32
Pass Accuracy: 88%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1
Fouls Won: 3
Successful Dribbles: 0
Key Passes: 0
Turnovers: 6

Arron says: 6.5

Pedro is out-of-form, Cristian Tello still cannot play on the right-hand side of attack and now we have Alexis Sanchez, who continues to struggle with his consistency. In some matches Alexis is superb -- decisive even -- and in others, like last night for instance, he's decidedly mediocre. Statistically, nothing positive stands out but his turnovers hint at a disappointing shift, in which he struggled to find his feet against Milan's deep defensive line. With a little more space to stretch his legs, here's hoping that Sanchez can thrive in Saturday's Clasico.

Lionel Messi 7.4
Minutes played: 90
Touches: 105
Passes: 76
Pass Accuracy: 79%
Shots/Shots on Target: 6/1
Fouls Won: 1
Successful Dribbles: 3
Key Passes: 3
Turnovers: 6

Arron says: 7.5

Typically, Lionel Messi scored the all-important equalising goal, holding off the challenge of the Milan defense to coolly slot the ball past Marco Amelia midway through the first-half. And all throughout the match, Messi was far and away Barcelona's most potent attacking threat, but there are still areas in which La Pulga needs to improve as he settles back into the starting line-up. Top of the list will be his accuracy -- whether he was shooting or passing, Messi somewhat struggled to find his target.

Neymar 6.5
Minutes played: 80
Touches: 62
Passes: 45
Pass Accuracy: 87%
Shots/Shots on Target: 3/0
Fouls Won: 2
Key Passes: 0
Successful Dribbles: 1
Turnovers: 4

Arron says: 6.5

Pound for pound, this was probably Neymar's "worst" performance in a Blaugrana jersey, although it was perhaps something we should have expected. After all, Milan are not only the most "organised" (read: defensive) team that he's faced, but this match was just latest in a long line of starts for the Brazilian, who has already started over 50 matches this calendar year.

Cesc Fabregas 5.8
Minutes played: 16
Touches: 18
Passes: 15
Pass Accuracy: 100%
Shots/Shots on Target: 1/1

Arron says: N/A

Fabregas replaced Alexis Sanchez with a little over a quarter-of-an-hour remaining and didn't see enough of the ball to warrant a full rating from me.

Pedro 4.9
Minutes played: 10
Touches: 9
Passes: 8
Pass Accuracy: 88%

Arron says: N/A

Pedro also made a cameo appearance, not enough to earn a full rating.

The Team 5.6
Passes: 835
Pass Accuracy: 91%
Shots/Shots on Target: 16/6
Tackles: 23
Aerial Battles Won: 69%
Fouls Won/Committed: 18/9

Arron says: 7.0

As our very own moderator, Al Benson pointed out in the post-match review comments, this result means that Barcelona picked up one more point than they did last year under Tito Vilanova -- and the draw also maintains our undefeated record. Oh yeah, don't you remember? We're actually unbeaten under Gerardo Martino. And on another night, Barca could have picked up the three points; all in all, I'm perfectly content with the display and with the point.

Gerardo Martino 6.0

Arron says: 7.0

It's hard to judge Martino's "performance" last night, purely because so much of it hinges on the result of Saturday's Clasico.

MOTM - Messi 51%

Arron says: Busquets

With a shade over half of the vote, Lionel Messi claimed the Man of the Match award ahead of my choice, Sergio Busquets (29%) and Andres Iniesta (7%).

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