It was 2017. Barcelona found itself trailing four to zero entering the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 to Paris Saint-Germain. Determined to stay alive in the tournament, or at the least avoid catastrophic embarrassment, Barcelona was playing in an all-out attack. Hope was found in the first sixty minutes, with three goals for the Catalan side. However, with a goal from Edinson Cavani of the Paris side, the moment appeared to be lost. While Barcelona did not stop coming forward, the defense extinguished every attempt. Entering the eighty-eighth minute, it looked all over. Barcelona still needed three. In just over six minutes, Neymar has scored two more goals. Now it was not unfound hope, but a reality. With 4 minutes into the five minutes of stoppage time given, the entire Barcelona team pressed forward. Even Barcelona’s goalkeeper, Marc-André ter Stegen, was the Paris penalty area when it happened.
Running through a midfield emptied by the retreating and anxious Paris defense, Neymar found room to comfortably clip the ball into the box with his left foot, resembling the path of a perfect rainbow on the Camp Nou pitch. The enemy sought to hold its ground to trap the Barcelona attack offside, but the effort was miscalculated. It was at this very moment when Sergi Roberto, who came on as a substitute in the seventy sixth minute, strode from the edge of the box like lightening to find the touch that would make history. Just barely beating the keeper, Roberto stretched out a toe to make a just enough contact to redirect the ball to the back of the net. The Paris defenders stood frozen like statues, eternally held captive by disbelief. The goal was Roberto’s but it also belonged to Neymar, who masterfully placed the ball in front of the goal setting the stage for a moment of greatness.
Not a second after the ball crossed the line and into the back of the net, Roberto was being buried by his teammates. The fans cascaded down the stands, forming waves of blue and garnet that flowed across the pitch like a sea. The hysteria took hold of Barcelona and Camp Nou. Supporters waved the iconic Catalan flag, and a collective cheer emitted a roar that could have been felt from Paris, where fans similarly cried, but in a vastly different sense. Barcelona would end the match victorious—six-one on the night, six-five aggregate after both legs. On this night, Roberto salvaged the team’s championship aspirations with a subtle flick of the foot, and solidified the greatest comeback in the tournament’s history.