While the watching world was braced in expectation of a historic Champions League comeback from Manchester City against Liverpool that never came, Roma did just that with their shock elimination of Barcelona in Tuesday’s quarterfinal second leg.
The Spanish press has been unanimous in its criticism of Lionel Messi and Barcelona after their “dismal” performance at the Stadio Olimpico.
The La Liga leaders, who are also in the Copa del Rey final and were therefore aiming for a treble, led 4-1 after the opening leg but fell, 3-0, on Tuesday at the Stadio Olimpico to exit the competition on away goals at the quarterfinal stage. Messi, who has netted 29 league goals for Barca, failed to find the back of the net in both legs to make it a total of five Champions League quarterfinal ties when the Argentine forward has not scored.
— Diario SPORT (@sport) April 10, 2018
Diario Sport – Failure without excuses
“Historic ridicule. Enormous. Those [setbacks] that hurt. Much. A lot. Because the worst Barca of the season was eliminated from the Champions League after being humiliated by Roma. A humiliation that will be remembered for many years… Not even Messi could fix it. The dream of a European Cup vanishes. And the image of that Barca that seemed reliable and victorious has been left in tatters.”
— Fresh Sports Covers (@freshScovers) April 11, 2018
El Mundo Deportivo – The Fall of Roma
“Ernesto Valverde’s side was last night an unrecognisable team that suffered in defence, was imprecise in midfield and harmless in attack. Following their worst performance of the season, Barca will not be among the best four in Europe for a third straight season. The Azulgrana, who in all this Champions League had only conceded three goals, saw how Roma were capable of beating them three times in 90 minutes and sending them home.”
poRTada de Marca pic.twitter.com/QVy5hZUFCK
— J. I. Gallardo (@JIGallardo) April 10, 2018
Marca – Total Failure in Europe: Barcelona and City fall dismally in the quarterfinals
“Leo Messi experienced a night that will be difficult to forget. The Argentine, who was enjoying an outstanding season until arriving in Rome, was nowhere to be found, without carrying the usual danger in the opposing goal. He lost 19 balls and took five shots, two on goal. His performance in the quarterfinals did not correspond to his usual level. It’s no coincidence. In the previous two [quarterfinal} ties, against Atletico and Juventus, he didn’t find the goal. Nor against PSG in 2015, the year Barca last won the Champions League. Nor did he against Atletico in their defeat in 2014. In total, 900 minutes without scoring. A revealing fact that helps to explains Barca’s eliminations. Cause and effect. The Messidependency.”
— AS (@diarioas) April 11, 2018
Diario AS – Cule Crash
“In the past few years, Barcelona have choked in the quarterfinals, having fallen for three straight seasons in this round (Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Roma). But if there is a footballer who has surprised for his performances in this phase it is Leo Messi. During the past five years, he has struggled. He has faded or at least has been lacking goals in the past 11 quarterfinal games in the Champions League that he has played in. We would have to go back to April 2, 2013 to see one of his goals in this round, the one he scored at PSG…”
Roma’s heroic comeback understandably dominated the headlines in the Italian media — both sporting and mainstream.
The Giallorossi put in a tactical masterclass and one of the most memorable performances in recent history to reach the semifinals for the first time in the Champions League era, and lots of column inches were dedicated to such an outstanding achievement.
La prima pagina della Gazzetta dello Sport:
⚽ Roma imperiale!
⚽ Juve, provaci tu col Real
⚽ Inter, Pinamonti & C. valgono un tesoretto pic.twitter.com/MF3WDndB2u
— LaGazzettadelloSport (@Gazzetta_it) April 11, 2018
La Gazzetta dello Sport – Imperials
“A great Roma turn the tables on Barca,” with the Spanish word “remontada” (“recovery”) also being used to rub salt into the Catalans’ wounds.
Another pun is used inside La Gazzetta’s opening pages, with “Roma” and “magic” combined for “RoMagica.”
“Messi has to bow to Roma,” the main article continued, with Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas contributing to a “legendary recovery.” It was a “footballing lesson” dished out by Roma to the Blaugrana as the Giallorossi reached the semifinals for the first time since 1984.
Ecco la #primapagina di oggi: #ChampionsLeague, #Roma nel mito; #Juve, ora provaci tu; #Olimpico pazzesco, hanno vinto in 60000; Leggi l’#edizionedigitale ➡️ https://t.co/fddrIDGO0n pic.twitter.com/EQyHp61pdA
— Corriere dello Sport (@CorSport) April 11, 2018
Il Corriere dello Sport – Roma legends
“A legendary remontada in the Champions League: 3-0 against Barca and his majesty Leo Messi.” Quotes from Dzeko and coach Eusebio Di Francesco are also used to claim that the best is still to come. “We’re going to Kiev,” they said.
— Tuttosport (@tuttosport) April 11, 2018
Tuttosport – Roma in ecstasy. Juve, did you see that it can be done?
While revelling in one of the most glorious evenings for Italian football, the Turin-based paper sends a message to Juve, who will look to overturn their own three-goal deficit when they face Real Madrid tonight, telling them how Roma can be an inspiration.
— Il Messaggero (@ilmessaggeroit) April 11, 2018
Il Messaggero – Roma, Roma, Roma!
The chorus of the club’s anthem may not be so imaginative, but it is used by the city’s Il Messaggero to commemorate a “Champions League dream,” reflecting the three goals which took the Giallorossi through to the best four clubs in Europe.
“One for the record books: Roma’s fans in the Curva Sud awaiting the final whistle. Just look at the scoreboard. Who would ever have predicted such a scoreline? There will be a few Roma fans pinching themselves when they wake up today, and possibly a few sore heads too.”
Inside the paper, Manolas’s face as he celebrates Roma’s third goal tells the story, under the words “Crazy Roma” who fly into the semifinals thanks to a “legendary recovery.”
Les Unes de l’Équipe du 11 avril.
— L’ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) April 10, 2018
But, despite the many front pages and column inches dedicated to the match in Spain and Italy, it was France’s L’Equipe which won the battle of the headlines. Alluding to the historic “remontada” of last season, when Barca came back from a 4-0 first-leg defeat to Paris Saint-Germain to win the tie 6-5 on aggregate, the French daily dubbed Tuesday’s result in the Italian capital a “Romantada”
ESPN FC’s Spain correspondent Adriana Garcia and Italy correspondent Ben Gladwell contributed to this report
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