Pau Cubarsi shines for Barcelona and Antoine Griezmann remains crucial for Atletico Madrid- Champions League hits and misses | Football News

Curbasi, 17, shines for Barcelona

Barcelona's Pau Cubarsi, 17, shone in their Champions League quarter-final with PSG
Barcelona’s Pau Cubarsi, 17, shone in their Champions League quarter-final with PSG

Pau Cubarsi is going to be a superstar.

The 17-year-old Barcelona defender had his hardest test to date, coming up against a rampant Paris Saint-Germain attack which included Kylian Mbappe. Cubarsi only made his LaLiga debut in January, two days before his 17th birthday. This was only his 15th first-team appearance and his second in the Champions League.

He would have become the youngest player to play in a Champions League quarter-final had team-mate Lamine Yamal, 16, not started as well.

But a stunning display saw the defender unfazed by the occasion. In the first half, no player on the pitch had more clearances and he ended the opening 45 with a 92.59 per cent passing accuracy.

In the second half, he won the ball back five times in the middle and defensive thirds, only Joao Cancelo and PSG’s Beraldo managed more in the game.

La Masia has been excellent for Barcelona this season with Yamal, Fermin Lopez and Marc Guiu among the names to break through this term. Gavi and Pedri are the big names too. Add Cubarsi’s name to the list.
Sam Blitz

PSG show there’s life after Mbappe

PSG's Kylian Mbappe cut a frustrated figure throughout the game
PSG’s Kylian Mbappe cut a frustrated figure throughout the game

Luis Enrique has been taking Kylian Mbappe off in crucial Ligue 1 matches in recent weeks because he wants his PSG to practise playing without their outgoing talisman.

Despite defeat to Barcelona, his team have shown there is plenty to them before he leaves.

With Mbappe rather anonymous, ending the game without a shot on target, the other PSG attackers stepped up to the fore. Ousmane Dembele looks ready to take the key attacking mantle off Mbappe, while Bradley Barcola, still just 21, was an impactful player off the bench.

The most exciting player however is midfielder Vitinha, who put in an all-round display at the Parc des Princes. The Portugal international completed all but one of his 83 passes, including 55 in the Barcelona half – he created the key chance which Dembele hit the post and took his finish brilliantly.

PSG will obviously be negatively impacted by Mbappe’s departure this summer – but there is plenty elsewhere for Luis Enrique to keep developing this young side.
Sam Blitz

Griezmann remains a delight

Antoine Griezmann takes a selfie after winning the player of the match
Antoine Griezmann takes a selfie after winning the player of the match

Antoine Griezmann is still one of the best players on the planet.

Few have the intelligence the Frenchman possesses – that is the beauty of Griezmann as a footballer, he reads a game like no other and could even be getting better with age. He ran the show at the Wanda Metropolitano, creating six chances in the match, including the assist for Samuel Lino’s goal. It was the most chances he’s ever created in a single Champions League game.

He’s not blessed with lightning pace or looks overly powerful to the extent that opposition players think they have him covered but his guile and ability to change a game with a pass or a piece of skill makes him so dangerous and a joy to watch. He can hurt you at any moment, from all over the pitch.

Griezmann now has seven Champions League goal involvements for Atletico Madrid this season (five goals, two assists). With him at the heart of Diego Simeone’s side, a semi-final spot is well within their grasp.
Lewis Jones

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