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Rating the Barcelona and AC Milan Players in Their Champions League Duel

Tre' AtkinsonFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2013

Rating the Barcelona and AC Milan Players in Their Champions League Duel

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    History has been made. Barcelona pulled off an unbelievable comeback at the Camp Nou to overturn Milan’s 2-0 advantage by winning 4-0. The eyes of the world have been ready to wave goodbye to the Catalans, but Messi and company silenced the critics.

    Milan was in control entering the second leg. They needed to score only one goal to secure advancement and opted to play heavy defense in hopes of stifling Barcelona’s play.

    After succumbing to the brilliant defensive display in the first leg, Barcelona had a mountain to climb.

    Not only did the Catalans score four goals to seal their spot in the next round, they were able to keep Milan scoreless to guarantee a place in the final eight.

    There were many stars that showed up at the Camp Nou, but there were also players who seemed to have left their boots in the locker room.

    In this article we will take a look at the player ratings for both sides in this historical performance. 

     

    Note all statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com

The Goalkeepers

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    Victor Valdes: 7/10

    Barcelona’s keeper had very little to deal with for the majority of the match. He was only forced to make two saves, but it was his decision making that was his best contribution of the night. The clean sheet was absolutely necessary in his wonderful performance.

    Christian Abbiati: 5/10

    The Italian keeper suffered an onslaught of shots throughout the encounter. He made a few key saves to keep Milan in the game, but was caught off guard in a few chances that led to Barcelona scoring.

The Milan Defenders

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    Ignazio Abate: 6.5/10

    Abate began the game very well despite nearly causing a penalty. The Italian defender also did well late when pushing up in attack. Yet trying to hold both Pedro and Iniesta proved too much for Abate.

    Cristian Zapata: 6/10

    Early on, Zapata was the strongest defender on the pitch for Milan. Yet as the game progressed he looked more costly at the back as he was not able to keep up with the attackers.

    Phillipe Mexes: 6.5/10

    Many expected Mexes to be the leader at the back for Milan. But tasked with marking Messi made things very difficult for the Italian as Messi’s quickness beat him every time.

    Kevin Constant: 5/10

    Constant was the weak chain the Rossoneri defense. Dani Alves got the better of the defender countless times. But it was his mistake that led to Barcelona’s third goal that officially sent Milan home.

The Barcelona Defenders

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    Jordi Alba: 8.5/10

    Jordi Alba has officially cemented his place at Barcelona. The Catalan defender showed great control in not going forward too much and was a defensive wall against Niang and the Milan attack. When Alba finally got involved in the attack he finished off the game with a thrilling goal.

    Javier Mascherano: 6/10

    The Argentine defender was shoved into the starting lineup due to Puyol’s surprise discomfort before the game began. It was clear that Mascherano was not prepared as he was Barcelona’s weakest performer, though a few strong challenges did save La Blaugrana.

    Gerard Pique: 7.5/10

    The Spanish international put in a terrific display at the Camp Nou. He made several key stops in the second half to save Barcelona from conceding and won nearly every challenge he committed to. Hard to find a defender better than Pique on the night. 

The Milan Midfielders

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    Riccardo Montolivo: 7.5/10

    The Italian midfielder had the most pressure on his shoulders. Tasked with starting the counter and winning balls in the center of the pitch, Montolivo had too much to do. But winning eight tackles and placing some strong passes sees Montolivo as Milan’s strongest player on the night.

    Massimo Ambrosini: 7/10

    Ambrosini began the match in a strong way but dropped off as the game wore on. His giveaway led to Barcelona’s second goal and it was clear that the Italian was out of energy soon after the second half began.

    Mathieu Flamini: 5/10

    Flamini was a clear disappointment for the Italian outfit. He was one step behind plays for the entire game and failed to win a single ball.

The Barcelona Midfielders

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    Andres Iniesta: 8/10

    Iniesta looked at home back in the midfield. His linkup play with the forwards was deadly but he also did well to win back some important chances in the midfield. He played a lesser role in the midfield than his teammates, but was quietly brilliant.

    Sergio Busquets: 9/10

    The Catalan midfielder was simply brilliant against Milan. He won possession back countless times and even linked up play that led to Barcelona’s second goal. His positioning proved yet again that he is the best around.

    Xavi: 8/10

    Just like his midfield partner, Iniesta, Xavi did not see the spotlight at the Camp Nou. But his ability to keep possession and retain a 90 percent passing rating, saw Xavi completely lock down the middle of the pitch in attack.

The Milan Forwards

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    Kevin-Prince Boateng: 6/10

    The Ghana international was almost invisible on the pitch Tuesday night. Out of position on the right wing, Boateng looked very uncomfortable as Jordi Alba used his speed to keep the attack at bay.

    Niang: 5/10

    Niang was forced to play in the biggest game of his career. The young attacker was pivot in the counter, but his only chance to possibly send Milan through was sent off of the post. Had he been able to score, he could have been the most important player for the Italians.

    Stephen El Shaarawy: 8/10

    Italy’s young star was the focal point of the Milan attack. He did well to beat the Barcelona defense several times, but the goal just never came. However, his contribution in defense was absolutely sublime.

The Barcelona Forwards

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    David Villa: 8/10

    Spain’s leading scorer was arguably the most important player on the pitch. He constantly pulled defenders away from Lionel Messi which led to two goals. But Villa was able to finish off the game with a brilliant goal in the second half.

    Pedro: 6/10

    Pedro was quite invisible Tuesday night. The Spanish international found space hard to come by as his biggest contributions were trying to earn a penalty.

    Lionel Messi: 10/10 Man of the Match

    Yet again there are no words to describe Lionel Messi. His two goals to begin the game were absolutely scintillating as everything the Argentine did caused Milan a headache.

    Dani Alves: 8/10

    The Brazilian right-back was pushed forward as a winger to begin the match. He was able to get off countless crosses and link up well with Messi. Alves continued his brilliant run of form.

The Milan Substitutes

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    Sulley Muntari: 6/10

    Muntari came on in the second half and contributed very little. His toughness aided in winning possession back, but the change gave very little help for the Italians.

    Bojan: 6.5/10

    Bojan surprisingly looked bright in the Milan attack. He was able to create a few chances despite very few touches.

    Robinho: 6/10

    The Brazilian attacker was brought on in hopes of using speed to pull a goal back. Robinho’s speed did cause Barcelona a bit of trouble but led to very little.

The Barcelona Substitutes

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    Adriano: 6/10

    The Brazilian utility man put in a strong performance despite being a substitute. His defense presence was a huge necessity at the end of the game.

    Carles Puyol: 6/10

    Barcelona’s captain did not have time to contribute very much, but was strong in his time on the pitch.

    Alexis Sanchez: 8/10

    The Chilean attacker has silenced critics over his last two performances. Once brought on, Sanchez delivered a burst of energy and gave a remarkable assist to Jordi Alba to finish off the game.

     

    How would you rate the players in Barcelona's historic comeback? Who is your man of the match? Don't forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.

     

    Tre' Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on Barcelona and the Champions League.

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