No longer the Best in the World
In a matter of six days, the defending La Liga and UEFA Champions League champions Barcelona were assured of not repeating their success in 2012.
Considered by many fans to be the best football club in the world, the high-powered Barcelona had lost it’s ability to finish and produce goals over their past three matches.
As a result, Tuesday, April 24, 2012 will be a day of infamy in Barcelona’s History as they were eliminated from the 2012 UEFA Champions League. For a club that prides itself in being the best in the world, Barcelona will not end their 2012 season as Champions.
Entering Tuesday’s match down 1-0 aggregate score, Barca needed to win at home in order to advance to the Champions League Finals. Even though they had a 82% – 18% possession advantage, a player advantage due to John Terry’s red card, and a 2-0 lead, Barca was unable to hold off Chelsea.
Overcoming the pressure of playing at Camp Nou, John Terry’s 37th minute red card and a two-goal deficit, Chelsea was dominated in regular time but it was in stoppage time where they outmaneuvered the defending Champions League winners.
Stoppage goals by Ramires in the first half and Fernando Torres in the second half combined with Lionel Messi missing penalty kick in the 49th minute followed by a Barca disallowed goal late in the match was more than enough to stun both Barcelona players and their supporters.
As a result of Tuesday’s 2-2 tie, Chelsea advanced to the Finals winning by an aggregate score of 3-2.
For Barcelona, there is no excuses for their collapse. Managed by Pep Guardiola, Barcelona had more than enough talent to repeat as Champions in both La Liga and the Champions League. At the end of the day, this is a club which has championship experience combined with players like Messi, Puyol, and Fabergas to lead the way.
So what happened? Simple, Real Madrid and Chelsea made the most of their opportunities. In doing so both clubs succeeded in producing more goals than the ever-exciting Barca. While most clubs would be celebrating the kind of season Barca produced, this Catalan squad is left scratching their heads and being forced to do what may of their opponents had to do last year.
And that’s watch the victors celebrate in both La Liga and in the Champions League.
Cesar Diaz is a freelance writer for several online soccer publications. If there's a soccer topic you believe needs to be written about, please feel free to contact him. Easily approachable, you may contact him at CDiazNYC@gmail.com and @CesarDiazNYC.