Any suggestion that Barcelona were vulnerable after their defeat at the weekend was quickly put to the sword during the early stages of this Champions League fixture with Celtic. Brendan Rodgers’ men were embarrassed as they conceded seven in their return to the heights of European football.
Lionel Messi put the Catalan giants in-front before Moussa Dembélé had the chance to equalise from the spot. His penalty was saved by Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, and then the humiliation began. Two further goals from Messi got his hat-trick, and further goals were scored by Luiz Suarez, Neymar and Andres Iniesta. The Scottish champions will have a job on their hands in order to recover and find a way to fight in this group.
Apart from Barcelona being very, very good, just what else did we learn from this clash?
Barca always give you a chance
They are human, after all. Alaves beat them at the weekend, and Celtic had a massive opportunity to make it 1-1 from the spot. Dembele had his effort saved, and Luis Enrique’s side were too good after that. It does seem however, that the Spanish Champions, like any team, will give you a chance if you take it. Alaves did, but tonight Celtic did not. That remains a slight, slight bit of hope for the return fixture at Celtic Park.
The Spanish giants score all types of wonder goals
It’s not just the typical tica-taca goals from the Pep Guardiola days we see now. They are still there, but there’s so much more variety. Lionel Messi got his usual hat-trick, but Luis Suarez’ first goal was reminiscent of his time at Liverpool, chesting and volleying in an effort on the turn. That quick, instinctive finish was what nearly fired The Reds to the title a few seasons back.
Andres Iniesta then scored a volley reminiscent to his winner at Stamford Bridge several Champions League’s ago. He showed a technique that seemed impossible to keep out. Then we saw Neymar scoring a free-kick. With the front-three that they have, Barcelona seem to score most free-kicks anywhere near their box. There’s no denying it – this is an upgrade to the Barcelona attack of the Guardiola era, even if this team isn’t as solid and unbeatable.
Celtic aren’t ready for Europe
There could well be some exciting nights ahead for the Scottish Champions – at Celtic Park in particular – but on the basis of tonight Celtic’s stay in the competition will be short. Of course, anyone can lose heavily to Barca, but the manner of the defeat suggests that Celtic are not near the level needed to succeed in the group stage, and much more work needs to be done if they are going to make an impact in the next few years.
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