Barcelona vs Chelsea: Looking back at the night the Blues made Lionel Messi cry - Goal.com

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The night that Chelsea made Messi cry

Mar 14, 2018 8:00:00 AMEngland
The west Londoners secured a 2-2 draw with 10 men at Camp Nou in 2012 to end the Catalans' hopes of a third Champions League crown under Pep Guardiola

It was a night of collective sadness at Camp Nou. Lionel Messi missed a penalty and ended up in tears as Chelsea broke Barcelona's hearts in a 2-2 draw which was the beginning of the end for Pep Guardiola's great side.

Barca had lost the first leg of the sides' semi-final 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, but remained confident they could turn it around in the second game at Camp Nou as they sought to retain their Champions League crown and win the trophy for a third time under the Catalan coach.

But Fernando Torres had warned Barca before the match that "the best team doesn't always win". And in this case, his words proved prescient as Chelsea claimed an improbable 2-2 draw with 10 men — and from 2-0 down on the night — to take their place in the final.

Three days earlier, Barca had seen their hopes of a fourth successive Liga title come to an end as they lost 2-1 at home to Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid. And elimination against the Blues in the Champions League made it a week to forget for Guardiola and also for Messi.

Everything had started so well. Barca were dominant and, after 35 minutes, Chelsea's resolve finally cracked as Sergio Busquets opened the scoring. Shortly afterwards, John Terry was sent off for kneeing Alexis Sanchez in the back and then Andres Iniesta made it 2-0 before the break.

At that point, there only appeared to be one winner. But Ramires shocked the Camp Nou by pulling a goal back just short of half-time with a superb chip that put a different complexion on the tie. Chelsea were not just back in it, but were poised to go through on away goals with that scoreline.

With an entire second period to follow and a numerical advantage to boot, Barca were still big favourites to advance and Guardiola's side won a penalty three minutes after the break as Didier Drogba fouled Cesc Fabregas in the box.

Up stepped Messi. Instead of scoring, however, the Argentine smashed his spot-kick against the crossbar and Chelsea survived another scare. There was still time for Barca after that, but Guardiola's side struggled to break down the visitors' defence and, after Leo had hit the post, Torres broke away to make it 2-2 in the final minute.

Alexis Sanchez quote Messi

Suddenly, it was all over for Barca and also, in the end, for Guardiola. His team and the fans had given all they had, but saw their dream die against a resilient Chelsea side. For Messi, it was too much to take.

"You might cry during a game if you lose a final," Alexis Sanchez told Sky Sports in an interview recently. "That's all part of football. In the Barcelona dressing room after the Chelsea game, I saw Leo cry."

And Guardiola said at the time: "It is no consolation for the fans, but the players are destroyed. The supporters helped us and I am grateful. We were so close, but it just wasn't to be."

Messi, meanwhile, had blamed himself for missing the all-important penalty, but the Catalan coach said: "The fact that we are here is thanks to him. I'm grateful to him more than ever. My admiration for him, for his courage, is unsurpassable."

Pep Guardiola Lionel Messi

Guardiola later admitted that elimination against Chelsea had convinced him to leave Barcelona after four successful seasons as coach at the club where he had made his name as a player.

"If you can no longer reach your players, as a coach, the time has come to move on," he said. "In moments of great sadness, the lights suddenly go out. Seeing Barcelona go out against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final in 2012 was just such a moment.

"We were better than our opponents, but we conceded an unnecessary goal in the return leg, and before we knew it we were out of the competition. That was a really tough defeat for me. I felt like I could no longer reach my team."

Indeed, three days after the Chelsea game, Guardiola announced he was leaving at the end of the season. Although he and Messi went on to win the Copa del Rey to make it 14 trophies from 19 in their time together at Camp Nou, things would never be the same again.


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