Impossible is nothing. Barça wants to be Muhammad Alí , the legend who inspired the Adidas slogan, in their Champions League challenge against PSG (21.00, Movistar). "Nothing is impossible", recite the Barça players, infected by the optimism of Joan Laporta, who accompanies the team before taking office as president, and also by the determination of coach Ronald Koeman. The coach wants his team to play in the Parc des Princes as the Louisville fighter boxed. “Fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Hit my friend, hit, ”Ali recited. "If we are as effective as PSG in the first leg, nothing is impossible," Koeman argues now.
There is no reference to the first leg score in the Barça expedition, defeated at the Camp Nou by 1-4, nor to the exhibition of Mbappé in the absence of Neymar, but the team is urged to compete and win, to dignify the club and give a good image, and then we will see what happens in Paris. The plan is "to come out strong and play our game," says the coach. "We need each footballer to show his best version, especially Messi, and that we get a round match." The options, in any case, are much smaller than those of the Cup match against Sevilla when Barça came back from 2-0. "The scoreboard and the rival are different and, furthermore, we do not play at the Camp Nou."
The absences due to injury of the central Araujo and Piqué complicate the Barça challenge even more, no matter how much "good vibes" dominate – the coach's word – generated by the good results in the Cup and in LaLiga and by the confidence that Laporta transmits, who does not stop visualizing the match, knowing that the appointment coincides with the anniversaries of the tribute paid in 1999 to the Dream Team at the Camp Nou and with the three goals that Messi scored against Madrid in 2007. The events, like the statistics and the antecedents, count for little in a contest that PSG faces at home with a three-goal advantage and the recovery of Di María with respect to at the Camp Nou.
Neymar , absent in five of the eighth games since he left for Paris, continues to be absent and will not be able to face his former Barça teammates. Mbappé was enough to knock out the Catalans at the Camp Nou. "We are going to play in the same way: focused and with the desire to attack and win," said Pochettino. The coach has concentrated his squad to isolate it from an environment that still remembers the 6-1 that the French took at the stadium four years ago after winning in Paris 4-0. That lift was avenged for some with 1-4. "Do you think PSG is afraid?" They ask Koeman. "No," he replies. “PSG is runner-up in the Champions League.”
The coach knows that his team has played four games without conceding a goal, won 15 of the 20 away games and has not been eliminated in the second round since the 2006-2007 season. "And if …", the conditional is repeated at Barça. A chimera? "Let's see if we can go back," Laporta said, hugging Messi on the way to Paris. 50 years ago, on March 8, 1971, Ali was cited in the match of the century at Madison Square Garden. That night he fell to Frazier. Barça does not give up at the moment.