FC Barcelona kept pace in La Liga with a 3-0 win over Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night. Goals from Neymar (2) and Lionel Messi powered Barça to the win. But the win was overshadowed by Victor Valdes' injury.
Neymar got the scoring started in the sixth minute as a great through ball from Lionel Messi found Alexis Sanchez who then found Ney for his eighth goal in the Liga season. Barcelona were stuck with another blow as Victor Valdes was injured in the 21st minute as his right leg planted hard while coming down from making a save, causing his ACL to tear (later confirmed). Jose Manuel Pinto came in to replace Valdes, who was carted off the pitch. Messi grabbed his goal in the 30th minute as an Andres Iniesta pass found Leo who outran Celta goalkeeper Yoel and put it in the back of the net for the second Barcelona goal. Neymar grabbed a brace in the 67th minute as a tremendous long crossing pass by Alexis found Ney open on the left, then Neymar shook off two Celta defenders before he slammed the ball past Yoel for Barça's third goal of the game.
Final: FC Barcelona 3-0 Celta Vigo
Let's get to the Best, The Worst, and What We Learned from this game.
The Best: Neymar, Lionel Messi
Neymar was straight balling on the night. He needed a night like this, as he struggled against Real Madrid a few days before. Neymar's hustle was on point from the opening minute. There is no doubt a fire was lit underneath the kid as he went out to prove why he is the best young winger in the world. No doubt his goals and his performance against Celta Vigo will improve his confidence.
Messi was once again on point against Celta. His pass to Alexis started the play that set up Neymar's first goal, and of course his chemistry with Andres Iniesta is always there, which led to Leo's goal. Grande Messi!
Alexis Sanchez and Javier Mascherano had good games as well.
The Worst: Victor Valdes' injury
Obviously the worst of the game goes to Victor Valdes' ACL injury. His Barcelona career ends prematurely.
What We Learned: Football, like life, can be so cruel and unfair, and we saw this with Victor Valdes' injury.
Words cannot describe how disappointed I am that Victor Valdes' Barcelona career has to possibly end like this, but football-like life-is not always fair, and we have to accept what comes to us and try to stay strong during difficult times.
This is one of those difficult times for Culés.
It's such a shame that Valdes is out. And I don't just say that for selfish reasons. Victor has had a great season, and he is in the prime of his career. Valdes was a shoo-in for the World Cup and the Spanish National Team. VV was ready to head to a new team and a new adventure as well.
Everything was looking like blue skies for Victor Valdes. Now, heavy clouds of frustration and uncertainty cover Valdes' future.
Victor is a warrior, and he will return stronger. But which team will he play for is anyone's guess. Certainly some clubs will now be cautious when looking to see if they want to bring VV to their team coming off an ACL injury. Perhaps he will decide to stay at FC Barcelona because he doesn't want his last game to be with him leaving injured. Who knows what will happen, but one thing I do know is that regardless of what happens, I know that all Culés are and have always been proud of Victor Valdes as our club's goalkeeper. He is a Blaugrana legend, and his memory as a player will never be forgotten. It's just tough to accept the fact that Victor Valdes' FC Barcelona career possibly ends like this.
I'll have a special article on Victor Valdes soon here on Barça Blaugranes and SB Nation.
What's Next?: Saturday at Espanyol
The Derbi Barceloní will take center stage on Saturday as FC Barcelona will battle RCD Espanyol.
Xoel's Final Word
It was a solid performance by FC Barcelona on Wednesday night as El Blaugrana defeated Celta Vigo 3-0 at the Camp Nou. Barça keep pace in the race for the Liga title. With Real Madrid's loss to Sevilla, Barcelona moves to second place in the Liga table, two points above Madrid and just a point behind Atletico Madrid for first.
But while it was a good win for Barcelona, the win was overshadowed by the devastating injury to Victor Valdes. The Catalans will be without one of their leaders for the rest of the season. It's a shame that Victor Valdes' final moments on the Camp Nou pitch as a Barça player was being carted off.
But if this was Valdes' last game as a Futbol Club Barcelona player, at least his last full game was a win against Real Madrid, and his last play on the Camp Nou pitch was a save.
Xoel, The Voice of Culés