Messi couldn’t keep his promise…

Betraying the trust and faith of a person or a group of people by not following through on a promise is horrible. Making a promise involves creating an expectation that you will make good on it, no matter what. FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi made a promise in August to his adoring fans at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, the Blaugrana’s home field, that he would bring the Champions League trophy back to Catalonia. But what happened today in Liverpool kept Messi from fulfilling that promise.

FC Barcelona went into the second leg of its semifinal matchup with a three-goal lead, a considerable cushion, particularly in soccer. However, Liverpool FC turned back the tide and nullified Barça’s advantage, coming all the way back from 3-0 down in the first leg to win the second leg 4-0, and advance to the Champions League Final by an aggregate score of 4-3.

This is astonishing on many levels. First, it’s astonishing that Liverpool was able to score four goals while holding the almighty Barcelona to none. Even though the English team was playing a home game, the prevailing notion was that Messi would be able to make good on his promise and advance to the Champions League Final before winning the competition’s big trophy.

It’s also astonishing that Barcelona looked like a completely different and inferior team from the opening kickoff of the second leg. Gone was the dominating performance the Blaugrana showed in the first leg. Liverpool didn’t play badly in that match in Barcelona, but Barça played better and capitalized on its chances. In the return leg, Barcelona looked lethargic and didn’t jump on any advantage that it had.

But perhaps the most astonishing part is that this is the second year in a row that Barça has blown a three-goal lead. Last year, Barcelona faced AS Roma in the Champions League Quarterfinals. In the first leg, Barcelona won decisively by a 4-1 margin. However, the second leg in Rome was marked by the same lethargy the Blaugrana showed at Anfield in Liverpool, allowing Roma to score three unanswered goals and advance in the tournament by way of the away goals rule.

This shouldn’t diminish Lionel Messi’s aura whatsoever, but it should call into question his ability to motivate his teammates to shake off their arrogance and prevent their opponent from regaining a foothold in the tie. This match was an absolute embarrassment for all parties on the losing side and it eats away at the faith Barcelona fans have in their captain when he guarantees victory.

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