Football: Barcelona hailed, PSG slammed

Barcelona's Lionel Messi (left), Rafinha (centre) and Javier Mascherano celebrate at the end of the match.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi (left), Rafinha (centre) and Javier Mascherano celebrate at the end of the match.PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA (AFP) - Barcelona soaked up global admiration on Thursday (March 9) as media and pundits poured scorn on Paris Saint-Germain following their Champions League humiliation at the hands of the Spanish giants.

Barcelona clawed back a 4-0 deficit from the first leg in Paris two weeks ago to win 6-1 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday to qualify for the quarter-finals in the biggest comeback in Champions League history.

Spanish Sports daily Marca called the Camp Nou victory a "historic comeback" under the headline "You have become legends" while El Mundo spoke of the "miracle of a lifetime".


Germany's football bible, Kicker, spoke of a "night of magic" while Bild said simply "Barcelona move mountains..."

Britain's Guardian newspaper said no kid in Barcelona would ever forget the "crazy night" their team made history, while the popular Sun newspaper focused on Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his girlfriend mobbed by adoring fans.

Brazil's O Globo daily celebrated Neymar's marvellous performance with the headline: "Neymaravilha. INCREDIBLE!"

"In addition to his well known genius, he added a dose of leadership," the newspaper said.

In Italy Gazzetta dello Sport had fun with its headline, with a play on words that could mean - 'Barca you are crazy' or 'Barca's crazy six'.

But PSG coach Unai Emery was hammered in the same paper, which gave him a three out of 10 performance rating, one of the worst ever seen (bad scores usually sit around four or five).

"He messed up everything, from the choice of players, to the approach and the management of the game," it said.

The Rome-based newspaper Il Messaggero said: "Miraculous Barca. PSG Smashed", while La Stampa acknowledged: "Whoever wants to win the Champions League will have to settle their scores with Barca."

The French press scrambled to find words harsh enough to describe PSG's shame.

"Crushed, trampled on, humiliated," said Le Figaro newspaper, while L'Equipe sports daily said "Indescribable."

"Tragic Paris," said the tabloid Le Parisien newspaper, while regional daily Ouest-France lamented the "shame and humiliation."

"Where to start? What words can describe the spectacle of desolation, this ruin, this shame that passes through those who analyse, who follow, who live and love PSG," said pundit Dominique Severac in Le Parisien.

"Good for nothing PSG... a global brand of failure," slammed critic Vincent Duluc in L'Equipe.

The whole project behind PSG, bankrolled by Qatar, which has invested millions in an effort to build a world-class club in the French capital, is now in question said Liberation on its website.

The reaction from angry PSG fans was swift and violent.

They showed their frustration at Le Bourget airport when their team returned from Barcelona late on Wednesday.

Chaotic scenes followed as a few dozen fans tried to block the exit road leading from the airport and one was slightly injured when he was stuck by Italian international Thiago Motta's sports car.

However, PSG's pain brought solace to some. The Paris club routed Marseille 5-1 on Feb 26 and Michel Tonini, head of a Marseille supporters club, said he had no sympathy.

"I was very happy about the result especially the way it happened," he said. "That takes them down a peg or two. If they had only been a little bit less arrogant when they beat us."