Barcelona vs. Bayer Leverkusen: Rating the Barcelona Players
One of the best performances of the season from Barcelona saw the Catalans destroy Bayer Leverkusen, 7-1, at the Camp Nou, and 10-2 on aggregate.
A cruel and ruthless performance from Lionel Messi, where the Argentine became the first person in Champions League history to score five goals in a match, ensured that Barcelona set aside any lingering talk of poor form.
Victor Valdes - 6
Hardly had anything to do. Might as well have picked out a good newspaper and set up a table and a chair with a mug of coffee. Lost out on an easy clean sheet because of Bellarabi's late goal.
Daniel Alves - 7
Extremely shaky in the first 20 minutes. His passing was confused and wayward. However, as the game progressed, he stretched the Leverkusen left side to breaking point with his movement along the flank. Overall, his distribution was poor, but he made up for it with his forward runs.
Javier Mascherano - 7
Did not put a foot wrong during the match. His tackling and interceptions were top notch, and he added to it with some very clean passing and distribution.
Gerard Pique - 7
Unlike his previous appearances this season, Pique had a good outing against the Germans. He was positionally excellent, cutting Bayer's attacks out very well.
In addition, he made some good aerial interceptions. Good distribution rounded off a good, error-free performance from the Catalan center-back.
Adriano - 6.5
Quite unremarkable. He was unable to outmaneuver Bayer's right flank. Was defensively secure, though, which was really all that was asked of him with Alves doing the dirty work down the opposite flank and Andres Iniesta's brilliant work on the left.
Was withdrawn for Marc Muniesa.
Sergio Busquets - 6.5
Very calm and composed in possession, and was quick to throttle Bayer's attacks. His distribution was faultless, and he was never troubled in midfield when he had the ball.
Xavi - 7.5
It was another standard performance from Xavi. He was quiet and assured in possession, with the cool, accurate passing that we have grown accustomed to seeing from him time and time again. Assisted Messi's first goal with a superb chipped pass over Bayer's high line.
Was withdrawn early for Seydou Keita.
Andres Iniesta - 8
When in possession, he was too hot for Bayer to handle. He was never stretched, and gave a very assured performance on the left flank and in the center. His passing and movement was impeccable, and he gave the final pass for Messi's second goal.
Was withdrawn early for Cristian Tello.
Cesc Fabregas - 7.5
Made some good runs upfield. A particularly good chipped pass to Pedro was wrongly ruled for offside. Did miss a half chance, but made up for it with two assists for Messi's and Tello's goals.
Pedro Rodriguez - 6
Pressed well and did well to stretch the play out wide. However, he was poor in possession and didn't look nearly as sharp as the Pedro of 2010-11. He had two good chances to score, which would have surely been a remarkable boost of confidence.
Lionel Messi - 11
What can I say about the Argentine genius that has not been said already? Two chipped goals, one low shot from a tight angle and two sublime left-footed goals rounded off what is surely one of the best Champions League performances of all time.
A fun fact: Messi is now only seven goals away from becoming Barcelona's highest scorer of all time, and has 48 goals in 42 matches this season.
Cristian Tello - 7.5
Scored with his second Champions League touch, and added another just six minutes later. Was more dangerous than Pedro from his first touch and injected a lot of pace into Barcelona's attack.
Is he going to become the super sub that Barcelona need so badly on the bench?
Marc Muniesa - 6.5
Was on the field for 27 minutes and did not put a foot wrong. Admittedly the game was already over when he was brought on, but he did his first team chances no harm.
Seydou Keita - 6.5
Brought on to give Xavi some well-deserved rest, and almost scored with a header from inside the six-yard box.
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