Nearly every time Barcelona shows a bit of vulnerability, it beats the very notion back in a big way.
It was no different Wednesday, when the Blaugranas responded to a second successive first leg deficit in the Copa Del Rey by clobbering Sevilla 6-1.
Yes, that Sevilla. La Liga’s regular Top Four challengers, the ones who shut out Barca in the first leg and have allowed just 14 goals in 21 league matches.
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Down 2-0 after one leg in Seville, Barca piledrove the visitors at the Camp Nou in the home leg. After Ever Banega saw a first half penalty kick saved by Jesper Cillesen, denying Sevilla an equalizer, Barca broke loose.
Lionel Messi was again the catalyst. In the Round of 16, he sat out the first leg against Levante and recorded a goal and an assist in the second leg.
This time, he again returned after sitting out the first leg. Messi drew the penalty that led to Philippe Coutinho‘s opener, set up Sergi Roberto for the goal that made it 4-0, then capped off the scoring in stoppage time.
It was his 50th goal in the tournament, breaking a tie for fifth all-time with legendary Ferenc Puskas. He needs 31 to catch Telmo Zarra’s improbable record set in 1957.
Coutinho scored twice, Luis Suarez had a goal and an assist, and Jordi Alba recorded two assists. Arthur assisted a goal by Ivan Rakitic.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says Luis Suarez will be sidelined for two weeks because of a right knee injury.
The club said on Monday Suarez will undergo stem cell treatment on the injury.
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Reserve goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen and midfielder Arthur also are nursing injuries.
Cillessen has a small muscle tear in his right leg and will be out from two to three weeks. Arthur has an abductor strain that will keep him from playing at PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Barcelona earlier said midfielder Rafinha will need surgery because of a torn ligament in his right knee and is expected to be out for the rest of the season.
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says it has reached an agreement with Brazilian club Gremio for the option to buy midfielder Arthur for 30 million euros ($37 million) plus variables that could reach 9 million euros ($11 million).
Barcelona said Sunday it can exercise the option for the 21-year-old player in July.
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The Spanish club says Arthur “is a talented midfielder who stands out for his passing ability,” is “excellent at protecting the ball” and is “a danger close to the opponent’s area.”
Arthur was key for Gremio when the Brazilian team won last year’s Copa Libertadores, South America’s top club competition.
He has been a regular in Brazil’s youth squads and has a few call-ups to the full squad.
Arthur made his first-team debut with Gremio under former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Barcelona has again beaten out its league and global rivals for the next up and coming Brazilian star.
According to a report from Brazilian publication Globo Esporte, Barcelona has agreed with Gremio on a $49.4 million transfer fee for midfielder Arthur. The deal would see 60 percent of the fee go to Gremio and the rest to agents and the owners of part of the player’s rights.
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The 21-year-old’s deal is still subject to the standard medical tests, and wouldn’t go through until January 2019.
Arthur broke onto the scene as a permanent member of the Gremio first team in 2017, starting 27 league matches and nine times in the Copa Libertadores as a dominant holding midfielder.
Barcelona will likely look for him to play a similar role to countryman Paulinho or Sergio Busquets, controlling the tempo of the game with passing but also being able to quickly snuff out an attack.
Arthur created controversy in December when he was photographed wearing a Barcelona shirt. It was around then that news began to leak that Barcelona began negotiations for his services. According to other news reports, the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, and Inter Milan were also interested in Arthur’s services.