All Work And No Play Award: The best part about Messi’s first goal wasn’t the goal itself. It was right afterwards, when Pedro rocketed into the net after the ball without even a split second’s pause for celebration. “The job’s not done, boys, we need more goals, let’s go let’s go let’s GO!!!” That moment right there encapsulates how Barcelona went into this match, and why they came out with the result we all wanted. They were hungry and determined and they didn’t stop working for even a second. This is what this team is capable of.
Sweeney Scissorhands Award For Hairstyling Hubris: Honestly. The entire Milan starting lineup looked like they had been dragged through a Tim Burton movie backwards. Special mention goes to El Shaarawy for his “Eraserhead meets Pee Wee Herman” look.
MOTM Award: I could speak here of Messi’s two golazos in the face of multiple defenders. I could speak of David Villa’s excellent use of space to draw players out of position. I could speak of Dani Alves’ almost frightening intensity or Iniesta’s absolute incandescence. But the fact is that this was the ultimate TEAM performance, and singling any one of them out seems rather churlish, even impertinent. This was a team that worked as one fluid amoeba-like organism from almost start to finish, and I think they all deserve equal kudos. 10/10
Mea Culpa Award: Mascherano, who made it clear after the game that despite an excellent overall performance, the error that led to Niang’s shot off the post is preying on his mind. No one could be harder on Masche than Masche himself.
Get A Room Award: Jordi Alba just really likes making out with Messi after his goals, doesn’t he? Seriously, Jordi, it’s getting a little embarrassing. Leave some Leo-love for the rest of the team!
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes Award: White smoke, of course, as the Catholic Cardinals elected their new Pope today. An Argentinian. A football fan. Let the conspiracy theories begin!
You Call That A Knife? Award: Flamini had a little cut on his head and had to go off and get bandaged up. I saw no streaming blood or forehead staples. He is inferior.
Prodigal Son Award: Yesterday was also Bojan’s first game at the Camp Nou since he left on loan. He played for the last 15 minutes, and didn’t do badly. He had a lovely moment where he outwitted Pique, and Milan even let him take a corner (so cute!). You have to wonder how he was feeling-coming in with a real shot of knocking his “home” team out of the Champions League, then watching helplessly as Barça put in their performance of the season and ran Milan over. Talk about mixed emotions!
Gazprom Cup: I like my Champions League with a side of Russian Brutalism, don’t you?
No Country For Old Women Award: One of the things I like about the crowd at the Camp Nou is how many of them are women. And not just young women or moms with their kids either. At least at the big games, there are always lots of older ladies enthusiastically waving their scarves and cheering for the boys. It’s lovely. I find it especially nice considering that in some countries women are barred from attending matches, and even an interest in watching from home is seen as a bit “unfeminine”.
Cherry On Top Award: Jordi Roura (and others) confirmed yesterday that Tito Vilanova has almost completed his treatment and is expected to return to Barcelona by the end of the month. He will almost certainly be back to lead the team into the next round of the Champions League. This is the only piece of news that could possibly top the result of yesterday’s game.