Every player faces some kind of pressure ahead of a big game but there are few players who enjoy playing under pressure perhaps their performance is even better when they are supposed to deliver. This is the quality of big players who have earned this repo for their persisting on-demand performances and Messi is of course one of those players who are eager to crush the opponents when it matters the most. This is something which is also felt by the Barcelona manager Luis Enrique who says Messi always delivers when we need it the most. He said this after Argentinean helped Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal on Wednesday after Messi scoring Barca‘s second goal in a 2-1 win. He could have added another goal to his name but a super save from Miguel Angel Moya prevented him adding the one via a free kick, before he beat three men only for Neymar to miss from close range.
Luis Suarez opened the tally for the visitors but this joy was short lived as second-half header from Antoine Griezmann kept the tie alive heading into the return leg at Camp Nou next week. Talking about the game and what went wrong for them during the game, Luis Enrique said in his postgame news conference, “Messi is at his best in the big games, the special games. He showed his repertory today. He helped us get superiority in the middle and was also dangerous up front. There are few terms of praise left for what Messi does.
“To come here and not suffer ridiculous. It’s same at Camp Nou — rivals suffer there. If we were more effective we could have the tie. They then took advantage of our mistakes, pressed us well, caused us problems and created chances. But in the end the result strengthens the team, considering how difficult it is to play here. So we are happy with the result. It could have been better; it could have been worse. If there is any team in the world who can cover absences it is Barca. (Neymar) is a key player for us, but we have players who can cover in his position.”
The result of this game made upcoming second leg game even more exciting but worst thing for the Barca is that they will be without Neymar who has been booked for a challenge on Juanfran and his place is likely to be taken by 13-goal Arda Turan.
Luis Enrique: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock, Inc.