Barcelona player ratings after 3-1 victory over Napoli secures Champions League last-eight
Leo Messi proved to be the "Everest" Gennaro Gattuso alluded to with the Argentinean leading his side to victory with a vintage display in Camp Nou.
Barcelona player ratings after Quique Setién’s side secured a place in the Champions League quarter-finals with a 3-1 victory over Napoli in Camp Nou to secure a 4-2 aggregate win.
Messi and little else
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen: The Germany keeper watched the ball hit the woodwork on two occasions but appeared to have them covered, especially from Hirving Lozano’s tame second half effort. Ter Stegen made a couple of solid punches to clear Napoli’s threat from corners but wasn’t really forced into a genuine save all evening. Could do little about Insigne’s expert penalty.
Nelson Semedo: The right back displayed an extraordinary amount of stamina given the peculiarities of the game and was technically assured as well. This was one of his best games in the Barcelona shirt particularly in terms of playing out from the back and putting Barça on the front foot with some lung-bursting runs down the flanks.
Gerard Piqué: Excellent in the air, played the ball out from the back well but was occasionally errant with long balls. Anticipated everything Napoli attempted through the middle and managed to keep his position.
Clément Lenglet: A perfect game. Defensively he could have done little more and he opened the scoring with a fine header after buying a yard of space in the box. The Frenchman is one of Barça’s key players right now.
Jordi Alba: A solid game from the left back, who couldn’t get forward as much as he would have liked due to Napoli targeting his flank. Managed to link up with Messi on occasion and when he did the visitors were suitably unnerved.
Ivan Rakitic: Not the Croatian’s finest game for Barça. He didn’t manage to fill the role vacated by Busquets and gave away possession too often, but he did provide the corner for Lenglet’s goal that set Barça on their way. Then he let Napoli back in with a needless foul on Mertens to gift Napoli a penalty.
Sergi Roberto: His work-rate and dedication to the team are undoubtable; he left his soul on the pitch trying to fill various roles and offered himself up as an alternative for bringing the ball out while Rakitic floundered. He is the type of understated player that rolls up his sleeves with little regard for gaining plaudits.
Frenkie de Jong: A much-improved performance from the Dutchman, above all in the second half when he displayed his ability to get between the opposition lines. It was shame that his teammates did not accompany him on his various forays forward to take advantage of his incisiveness. His delivery for Messi’s disallowed goal was straight out of the Dutch handbook for impossible passes made easy. He also stuck in a shift in defence.
Leo Messi: The Argentinean put in a vintage first half that basically carried Barcelona to Lisbon and relieved a lot of pressure on his under-fire manager. His goal was a work of art, dodging tackles, rising from the turf to dodge more and firing between two helpless defenders and beyond the despairing grasp of David Ospina. He had one disallowed for handball after controlling on his chest and later was awarded a penalty after a tangle with Kalidou Koulibaly that was a little harsh on the unsighted Napoli defender. Even after that challenge and visibly struggling, Messi played the second half in the absence of any alternatives on the bench.
Luis Suárez: As ever, the Uruguayan showed plenty of fight and led from the front, scoring the penalty to make it 3-0 on the night and carrying on even after picking up a knock and running himself into the ground.
Antoine Griezmann: A horror show from the France international, who was hesitant in challenges, disjointed from his teammates, didn’t managed to get involved in Barça’s attacks and did little in defence. He was the first to be hooked by Setién but he probably should have been hauled off considerably earlier. Griezmann’s price tag demands that he be played but in truth teenage prodigy Ansu Fati would offer a lot more in terms of attacking threat and his chemistry with Suárez and Messi.
Monchu: The Barça B forward made his debut for the senior side replacing Griezmann and didn’t look out of place as he went about the Napoli back line with verve and got into a tangle with old campaigner Stan Lobotka.
Junior Firpo: Came on as a sub as Setién had little else at his disposal to run down a few seconds.
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