Messi hits 700 in style
Another day, another landmark and another Lionel Messi masterclass against Borussia Dortmund that left pretty much everyone drooling afterwards.
The GOAT marked his 700th appearance in some style, scoring, grabbing two assists, hitting the woodwork and running the Dortmund defence ragged all night.
Ernesto Valverde branded his performance “amazing” after the match, Marc-Andre ter Stegen went for “not normal,” while Mats Hummels said he’s “the best footballer I have ever seen – period.”
Dortmund boss Lucien Favre also offered his thoughts by saying basically the only way to stop him is to foul him. That’s if you can catch him in the first place, Lucien.
Messi’s goal means he has now scored against 34 different teams in the Champions League, more than anyone else in Europe’s top competition.
34 - Leo Messi has scored against 34 different teams in the UCL, more than any other player in the competition. Historic. pic.twitter.com/qEkVoxCbva— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 27, 2019
His performance also lifted Barcelona from their weekend torpor against Leganes and ensured they head into the knockout stages with a game to spare and with top spot in Group F assured.
Griezmann makes most of Dembele injury
One of the main talking points from Ernesto Valverde’s starting XI was the Barcelona manager’s decision to start Ousmane Dembele ahead of Antoine Griezmann.
Yet the French forward only managed 25 minutes against his former club before being forced off with the ninth injury of his Barcelona career. More frustration for a player who simply has not been able to catch a break during his time at the Camp Nou.
On came Griezmann and put in a much-improved display. The French was heavily involved and scored a much-needed goal after being teed up by a brilliant pass from Lionel Messi.
Valverde said after the match “they understand each other very well” while Clement Lenglet called Griezmann “spectacular” and joked about speculation his team-mate doesn’t get on with Messi by adding “now the rumours can stop, you can’t say anything.”
This was the kind of performance needed by Griezmann particularly ahead of Sunday’s crunch La Liga clash that sees him head back to former team Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Junior Firpo shines on Champions League debut
Junior Firpo was handed his Champions League debut on Wednesday at left-back in the absence of the injured Jordi Alba and did not disappoint in an assured showing.
The 23-year-old hasn’t been given too many chances to impress this season following his signing from Real Betis over the summer but made the most of it against Dortmund.
He seemed far happier and keen to get forward than he did against Leganes and tweeted after the match his debut “couldn’t have gone better.”
Junior has had to be patient at Barca this season, but this was a promising performance that will offer hope the 23-year-old can go on and become a success at Camp Nou.
He will surely improve too as he adjusts to life at Barcelona and will hopefully provide some real competition for Alba as the season progresses.