“We have changed history. This team deserves to be trusted.” These were the words of Barcelona's Gerard Pique in the pre-match press conference, which marked the build up to his side's vital Champions League encounter with A.C Milan at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night.
With the team trailing 2-0 after the first leg in Milan, history is against them – no side has ever overturned a two-goal deficit without the help of an away goal – but Pique has issued a message to the often pessimistic Barcelona fans who he hopes will help impart a sense of unity and belief.
Andres Iniesta emphasized the importance of a good start saying: “We have to go all out from the first minute, treat it like a final and play like our lives depended on it.”
And he will be boosted by the return of his midfield partner in crime Xavi after a couple of weeks out with injury.
The signs are positive for Barcelona after they cruised to a comfortable win over Deportivo La Coruña and were able to rest many of their big name players – Messi made a brief 25 minute cameo, scoring to break a record of doing so on 17 consecutive league appearances.
Much will depend on the Argentinian after what has been by his standards a rather disappointing run of form which saw him largely anonymous in the San Siro 3 weeks ago, and as we saw in that game even he cannot do it on his own.
For a team who have reached such dizzying heights in very recent history, the last few weeks have been extremely difficult for this Barcelona side - being beaten so listlessly in the San Siro before losing twice in quick succession to great rivals Real Madrid. Now is the time for this team of champions to prove that they still have the character that has seen them change the history of football.
Despite achieving so much, as Xavi points out “this generation has never made an historical comeback, and we'd like to do so” and it appears that belief within the squad is high, undeterred by a relatively poor sequence of results.
Mascherano asserted that “if we change things, I am absolutely certain we will come back”, and despite the two goal disadvantage it would be foolish to bet against this Barcelona generation as they look to continue rewriting the history books.
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