Villaflor: Deja vu at the Nou?

Noel Villaflor
·2 min read

Call it a jinx or curse, but there seems to be no end to FC Barcelona’s recurring nightmare at the Champions League.

Apparently, the ghosts of Lisbon where Barca was massacred 8-2 at the hands of eventual champions Bayern Munich in the single-leg quarterfinals last season continue to hurt the La Liga side.

And on Wednesday, Feb. 17, in their Round of 16 first leg match at Camp Nou, Barcelona got slaughtered anew, 4-1, this time at the hands of French royalty Paris Saint-Germain.

And PSG’s chief executioner? The young great Kylian Mbappe, who scored a hat trick as he maimed and crippled a hapless defense in the 32nd, 65th and 85th minutes along with Moise Kean in the 70th.

The mess that is Barca started so well, drawing first blood after Lionel Messi converted a penalty off a Frenkie de Jong foul in the 27th minute.

But that was it for the Blaugrana, whose back four was no match for the speed, agility and surgical precision of PSG’s frontliners, who were as ruthless as they were determined in mowing down a formidable but traumatized foe.

If there is something as horrible as losing 4-1 at your home ground, it is the possibility of getting mauled by a greater margin away in the next leg.

It is difficult to see how this Barca side could recover from such a debacle.

The staunch Barca faithful would argue that overturning such a result isn’t far off, as an eerily similar scenario took place between the two sides in 2017.

After a 0-4 loss at the Parc des Princes, the Catalans overturned the huge deficit to win 6-1 at Camp Nou and advance to the quarterfinals.

The feat was deemed as the largest comeback in Champions League history.

If Barca fans wish to draw strength from La Remontada (The Comeback) of March 2017, well and good.

But these intense feelings of deja vu should not keep their hopes up as this Barca side is not the same as that from four years ago.

For one, a stronger and far deadlier PSG side should have learned its lessons since it will host the Blaugrana on March 11 at Parc des Princes.