BARCELONA

World press reacts to Barça's title-race slip up: "Catalan crisis"

International newspapers praised the "genius" of Lionel Messi, but criticised Barcelona's display as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Villarreal, leaving Madrid with a 5-point gap and a game in hand.

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“Catalan crisis” (Mirror)

“This was another display in which the Catalans looked a shadow of themselves, a shadow of the team that won the treble in 2014-15. Instead this looked like a similar display to the ones they put in during their down-spell last season, when they nearly threw away their lead in La Liga and were eliminated from the Champions League.”

"Messi saves Barça” (La Gazzetta dello Sport)

How the Catalan press reacted: "Hands Up!"

In Italy they point to "two clear penalties not awarded", and that while snatching a late point "avoided knockout," with Madrid now five points clear with a game in hand, another misstep “could cost them the title."

“Gap between Real Madrid grows” (L’Equipe)

In France they salute Lionel Messi, saying that "Messi avoids the worst, but the gap between Real Madrid grows." The newspaper praises Villarreal: "In the league have not yet lost against Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico this season."

“Rakitic marginalised” (Kicker)

The German newspaper speaks of the "shameless action of Bruno" following his handball, and the “genius of Messi," which they call "inimitable." They emphasise that "there was a loser before the game: Rakitic", claiming the Croatian has been "marginalised".

Neymar’s barren run (Globo)

In Brazil they focus on Neymar’s streak without seeing goal, since "it is the longest without scoring since he arrived in Barcelona."