549” of Neymar magic

549” of Neymar magic

549 seconds

Someone has timed the chain of events from Neymar's free kick which made the scoreline 4-1 to Sergi Roberto's last minute goal for Barcelona and precisely 549 seconds passed between both goals. As Neymar lined up to strike the free-kick with the scoreboard showing 3-1, no-one would have envisaged that some 549 seconds later Barça would secure an epic 6-1 win that had the Camp Nou crowd in raptures. Witnesses at the game will rarely experience a similar situation at a football ground in their lives. The drama reminded me of the Manchester United comeback against Bayern Munich in the final of the 1999 Champions League that incidentally was also staged at Camp Nou.

Barcelona's midfielder Sergi Roberto scores a goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on March 8, 2017.

The magic of sport

I was reminded of a Woody Allen interview with the Sunday supplement of L’Equipe when he claimed that he admired cinema and theatre so much as they were capable of transporting the public to a different place. Sport also has an ability to do something that neither cinema nor theatre are capable of: that of changing, in a split second the direction, script and narrative of an event. When this happens, the outcome can be truly magical and this is at the heart of all sport. 90,000 Barcelona fans at Camp Nou were first hand witnesses to this phenomenon on Wednesday. This is why sport and in particular football can be so magical.

The Nou Camp, Barcelona, Spain - 8/3/17 Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after the game Reuters / Albert Gea Livepic

Neymar superstar

Neymar warrants a special mention for his spectacular performance on Wednesday. He stirred up a storm and was then able to navigate it admirably. His free-kick provided a glimmer of hope and he converted his spot-kick moments later (a gift from Aytekin, wrapped up in the atmosphere) and it was his pinpoint assist that found Sergi Roberto to steer home the sixth goal at the death. Ter Stegen's presence in the opposition area for the final moments I believe, also had a disruptive effect on the PSG team. This 549 seconds of football at the end of this incredible game will be forever immortalised in Camp Nou history.

Neymar Jr.