What was that about Barcelona's golden generation being past it? As if to confound the naysayers, Barca crushed PSG 6-1 in what was a reminder of the power of football, writes Joscha Weber.
Sure, there's plenty to complain about when it comes to football: It overshadows all other sports. It is a circus that sucks in ridiculous sums of money - the epitome of turbo-capitalism. It's merely a game, but it distracts us from much more important, serious subjects. All of this is true.
However, what is also true is that football is poetry. It can write stories that captivate us, that touch us, and that bowl us over.
The power of unwavering will
This is exactly what football did again on this 8th of March, 2017. FC Barcelona took what looked to be a hopeless situation and turned it into one of the most memorable nights in the club's glorious history. With a will to win that defied the logic of experience, Barca turned an all but lost Champions League last-16 contest and turned the tables on Paris Saint-Germain.
The legendary Catalans swept aside the newly rich but still inconsistent PSG aside by a score of 6-1 - defying the pundits by advancing to the quarterfinals of Europe's most prestigious club competition. No club had ever reversed a four-goal deficit in the Champions League, since the new format succeeded the old European Cup in 1992. Now it has happened.
In its inimitable way football made the apparently impossible possible and showed millions of football fans why the international dominance of the sport is no coincidence. Football writes stories that are actually too beautiful to be true. Football is such a simple game, but its sheer unpredictability is what fascinates us.
This evening in Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium caused emotions to swing back and forth. The early euphoria caused by Barcelona's 3-0 lead was followed by deep sobriety among the Catalans and unrestrained celebration among the Parisians when PSG pulled one back. As everybody knew, the away-goals rule meant that Barca now needed a further three goals in order to advance. When these came in the final seven minutes of the match, the Camp Nou went absolutely berserk. And in addition to the 96,290 in the stadium, so did millions of others watching on television. What a sensation!
Impossible? A flexible notion
What did we learned on this memorable evening? That the only certainty in football is that certainty doesn't exist. And that "impossible" is a flexible notion. And we gained the realization that, in football at least, unwavering will really can move mountains. Well if that isn't poetry...