BARCELONA – Barcelona and PSG remember Johan Cruyff and Sergi Roberto. Ronaldo, Neymar, Verratti, Marquinhos, Rafinha and even Icardi. And Messi, of course. They place Nasser Al-Khelaïfi and Josep Maria Bartomeu on the map. Eric Abidal and even Laurent Blanc. The relationship between the two clubs is the story of an enmity that has made them both inseparable and irreconcilable. And that they will meet again this Tuesday at the Camp Nou in a new chapter that will not be the last.
Their paths cross when Leo Messi is a prominent protagonist, in the last months of his contract with Barça and being put on stage by PSG as a monumental signing, free, and that has caused many complaints from the Camp Nou environment.
The Argentine star is only the latest name in a long relationship between the two clubs that met on the pitch for the first time in 1995, last in 2017 and that has led them to a deep enmity that reached the zenith with Neymar’s departure to Paris and that has been reproduced in a bad way with all the speculations and statements of the last weeks about a Messi who has remained silent, without wanting to feed an obvious controversy.
It was PSG, trained by Luis Fernández, the team that fired Johan Cruyff from the Champions League. Runner-up the previous season, Barça met the French team in the quarterfinals of the 1994-95 season. Contested the first leg at the Camp Nou (1-1 with goals from Korneyev and Weah), the 2-1 at the Parc des Princes, PSG traced the initial goal by Bakero through Raí and Guérin, causing the elimination Barça player in what was Cruyff’s last match as coach in the top continental competition.
The final of the defunct Recopa de Europa was his second face to face. Disputed on May 14, 1997, the victory fell to the Barcelona side thanks to a penalty transformed by Ronaldo, in his only season as a Barça player under the direction of Bobby Robson.
REUNION AND ENEMY
From there they did not see each other again on a pitch until the 2012-13 season, in the quarterfinals of the Champions League that favored Barça (2-2 in Paris and 1-1 in Barcelona) in what was the first of several matches on the pitch,
always favorable to the Spanish team and that led to a future enmity, a silent war, which has been on stage for all these years.
It happened with Marquinhos and with Thiago Silva, PSG reference defenders whom Barça wanted to sign without luck and the maximum was reached with Verratti, who came to proclaim his desire to leave Paris to play for Barça against the wish of his president. .. Who resolved by renewing him and proclaiming that he would not forget the affront in what he understood to be an assault on his club. And that returned over time.
It was in August 2017, when PSG took Neymar to Paris, paying his termination clause, 222 million euros, and returned all the threats from Barça on their players with a masterstroke of which, even today, the azulgrana club has not recovered.
Before that, on the field, they had seen each other up to three times, in a group stage and two direct knockouts in the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons, both surpassed by the Barça club … And with the eight May 2017 as an unforgettable date, with the historic comeback (6-1) that Sergi Roberto sentenced in what was, precisely, Neymar’s last great night as a Barça player.
Since then and until today there have been few times that the Brazilian has been linked again with Barça, who tried in every way to get him back with implausible negotiations and even trips by Òscar Grau and Eric Abidal to Paris without good results. Today, it seems that the return is definitely ruled out. And, from the outset, he will not return to the Camp Nou or as a PSG player due to his injury.
Barça and PSG will meet again this Tuesday at the Camp Nou without Ney, but probably with Rafinha, a youth squad player from Azuñgrana who closed his loan stages by signing for the French club and, also, with Mauro Icardi, a Barça squad player in his day and today a forward for the French team. And with Messi as Barça player. Who knows if for the last time he faced a team that yearns for his signing from next season.
Without an audience but with passion in a new chapter in that long history of sporting battles and manifest enmities.