MADRID (AP) — If Lionel Messi doesn’t come to the rescue for Barcelona, no one will.
The Argentina forward has saved Barcelona time and time again over his career, coming up with extraordinary goals and incredible assists that have led the club to dozens of titles over the years.
And it was his remarkable performance in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals against Liverpool that helped Barcelona overcome an off-night by the rest of the team. Messi scored two goals last week to put Barcelona in position to make it to the final for the first time in four years.
But when Barcelona struggled again collectively in the second leg, Messi wasn’t able to turn things around.
Liverpool reversed the 3-0 loss from the Camp Nou with a spectacular 4-0 win at Anfield, extending Barcelona’s European title drought for yet another year.
The loss highlighted Barcelona’s dependency on Messi, who put in a solid performance but couldn’t produce any more epic goals to keep the team in the tournament.
“We shouldn’t blame anybody,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. “We are a team in the good situations and in the bad situations. In…