Barca are back! A performance for the ages and at just the right time too.
If anyone thought that the 90 minutes at the Sanchez-Pizjuan was great, Wednesday night’s drama took things up another notch or two.
That was a masterful dismantling of a Sevilla side who have been one of the best teams in La Liga this season and, until the weekend, looked almost impenetrable over the past few weeks.
From beginning to end, just as Barca had been at the weekend, they were in total control.
Had the blaugranes gone out, for example if Ocampos had scored the penalty, it really would’ve been a travesty.
Long periods of possession is what cules have come to expect with any Barca side, but what they showed against the Andalusians were the battling qualities and fight that have been missing from the side for far too long.
It was as if the season had been building to this moment. For Barca to show everyone that, despite everything that has happened in the last 12-15 months, they aren’t done yet.
What’s particularly pleasing too is that, though Lionel Messi played his part as always, if not a peripheral figure the team were nonetheless not as dependant on him as they’ve seemingly always been.
The youngsters in the side again did themselves proud, and for that we must give absolute credit to Ronald Koeman.
His brief was fairly simple when he took over, though would’ve tested even the best managers to the limit.
However, momentum is continuing to build under his stewardship, and the hugs he received from the players at full-time appeared genuine.
Certainly, the new president has more than just Messi to concern himself with upon being officially unveiled at the weekend.
Koeman has gone from also-ran to a shoo-in to be kept on in the coaching role. If he wins the cup and gets this team to go close in the league, only an idiot would then want to replace the Dutchman with Xavi or anyone else.
With a couple of months left of the campaign there’s still all to play for, and at the end of last year, no one would’ve believed that were possible.
It’s wonderful to see the genesis of a new generation taking shape and eulogising on what the make up of the team will soon look like.
Ever the eternal pessimists, Barca fans may even allow themselves to believe that Messi might stay now. The green shoots are certainly there.
What a great night!