We will discuss the performance that FC Barcelona offered vs Internazionale Milano on Tuesday without Lionel Messi.
FC Barcelona was finally able to compete against a strong contender without Lionel Messi, this is progress in our book.
The Catalan club has been suffering an alarming dependence on its most valuable player over the last decade.
Today, we saw the first signs of a squad that is finally learning how to perform without their biggest star.
But Leo’s absence wasn’t the only one that we noticed at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium today.
We also saw a match without the likes Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and even Sergio Busquets.
With El Clasico only a week away, manager Ernesto Valverde didn’t want to risk his best footballers’ fitness.
On paper, FC Barcelona didn’t have a chance to win against the current Serie A leaders.
Antonio Conte’s Internazionale Milano is arguably the most competitive club in Italian football today.
The former Chelsea boss had a mapped out plan to defeat an apparently weaker FC Barcelona.
However, he didn’t count on the hungry players that traveled to Milano this evening.
There are several names that needed to step up their game and they managed to do so in spectacular fashion.
Valverde decided to use a blend of veteran players who don’t normally perform that often and combined it with some brilliant youngsters.
Carles Perez played Messi’s position.
Due to the overwhelming calendar that FC Barcelona has in the upcoming month, the gaffer decided to use some academy players.
Carles Perez started the match from the beginning in Lionel Messi’s position.
He opted for an unusual 4-4-2 formation with Griezmann and Perez on the attack, very similar to what Inter was attempting.
This new formation was the reason Inter didn’t even know what hit them, as Barcelona was way more solid on the defense with only two attacking players.
Throughout the 90 minutes, the Catalan club dominated the chances and the benefited names were the academy youngsters.
Carles Perez was the one who scored the initial goal for his club.
This happened early in the first half with a combination that was strikingly similar to the stuff Messi does on a weekly basis.
Antoine Griezmann was one of the standout performers from this evening as well, he played a leading role that suited him perfectly.
Griezmann’s presence took the pressure off Perez and allowed the squad to function even better during the second half.
Lukaku’s equalizer before half-time didn’t mirror what was really happening on the pitch.
Ansu Fati makes history for Barcelona.
After a long second half that had chances on both sides, Perez left his place to Ansu Fati with five minutes left on the clock.
The performance from Ernesto Valverde’s team had already established that Barcelona is the better squad.
We could finally see a solid team that is getting to know its many different virtues from players that don’t perform on a regular basis.
Ivan Rakitic also played a leading role in midfield, this was his confirmation as one of the best players that the Blaugrana have.
But the cherry on top at the end of the game came from an unexpected place.
Youngster Ansu Fati came on the pitch with an electric pace and determined to make history.
At only 17 years and 40 days old, he scored the goal that made him the youngest player to score a goal in Champions League history.
The goal’s execution was superb, along with the combination he made with Luis Suarez.
The Uruguay veteran was Fati’s figure that helped him make history in this prestigious competition.
We only wish Ernesto Valverde gave Ansu more minutes to play. The youngster had been out of any competition for more than a month.
Hopefully, tonight’s performance gives his manager the confidence to play him more often.
This FC Barcelona looks more unstoppable than ever, even without Leo Messi.
How far can this Barcelona get in the season? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.