It was the night when Ousmane Dembélé put the Juventus defence to sleep.
A night when his true genius awoke once more.
Another game which hinted at what’s in store as long as the Frenchman can stay fit and firing.
Despite a good few injury-free months, there’s always a nagging doubt that a muscular problem is just around the corner.
Though that worry is for another day. Let us bask in a masterful performance by Dembélé and his attacking colleagues.
On the front foot as is Xavi’s modus operandi, Barcelona looked a threat going forward in all areas.
The most concerning issue, as I’ve stated in a previous column, remains in defence. Xavi talked pre-match about more consistency but the back line didn’t get the brief.
Two regrettable goals flattered the Italians, and it took the shine off of two world-class finishes from Dembélé. Dare I suggest that the first was Messi-esque…
Xavi has managed what no coach has done previously and that’s to consistently get the best from his wide man.
Whether goals or assists, Dembélé has continued to deliver, and with Raphinha looking the part too, the threat Barça carry is obvious.
Perhaps being the star man, if I can put it like that, suits the Frenchman.
Cynics might suggest that it’s a World Cup year and there are clear benefits to such consistency. However, anyone who plays the game knows that you can’t just turn the style on and off on a whim.
He is revelling in the responsibility and, frankly, I’m glad to be proved wrong.
As a vocal critic of his previously, it’s a pleasure to have to eat my words, and on this form, Dembélé is more than proving his world-class credentials.
Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be too excited about a pre-season tour either, but the emergence of a ‘new Barça’ is there for all to see.
There is cause for genuine optimism again after a few barren years, and it’s definitely time to start looking forward rather than back.
The icing on the cake would be the capture of Jules Koundé and, I would suggest, César Azpilicueta, who’d be a more solid addition on the right side than Sergiño Dest for example.
With the new season only just around the corner now, it’s time to sit back, relax and break out the popcorn.
I think we’re in for a hell of a ride…