Barcelona 2-0 Atletico Madrid: Player ratings as Catalan giants close in on La Liga title

Andy West 7/04/2019
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Luis Suarez celebrates his opener

Barcelona took a major step towards the title with a 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou, moving 11 points clear at the top of the table with seven games remaining.

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi were the goalscoring heroes while Diego Costa was the villain after getting himself sent off, but how did everyone else fare?

Check out our Barcelona player ratings now.

BARCELONA 4-3-3

Ter Stegen 6. Made a couple of straightforward saves from Antoine Griezmann and had little else to do. Calm in his distribution.

Roberto 7. Preferred to Semedo at full-back and worked well with Rakitic to build play down the right, offering a constant outlet.

Pique 7. Made some important interventions and provided a sense of security after missing the defensively shambolic draw at Villarreal.

Lenglet 7. Took a bash on the face from Costa early on but wasn’t perturbed and produced another no-nonsense performance.

Alba 7. Surged forward to hit the post in the first half and never stopped trying to penetrate Atletico’s backline.

Rakitic 7. Saw plenty of the ball on the right of midfield, helping his team keep their shape and control the action.

Busquets 7. Calm and confident in front of the back four, looking more assured than many of his recent performances.

Arthur 6. Knitted play together with controlled passing but perhaps a little too safe with his distribution. Replaced by Malcom.

Coutinho 6. Flitted in and out down the left. Demanded a great save from Jan Oblak with a low shot and threatened with a header.

Messi 9. Same as always. Brilliant passes to set up Alba and Suarez, forced Oblak into a great save and scored a sublime second.

Lionel Messi celebrates

Lionel Messi celebrates

Suarez 8. Linked up play superbly at times, had a drive well saved before curling home a fantastic opener from 20 yards.

SUBSTITUTES 

Malcom 7. Introduced for Arthur and added a spark down on the right, stretching Atletico’s defence with pacy runs.

Alenya 6. Came on at the left of midfield to replace Coutinho for the final ten minutes but made little impact.

Semedo 6. Replaced Roberto at right-back in the latter stages, few opportunities to impress.

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Barcelona signing Frenkie de Jong reveals why he turned down Tottenham offer

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Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong

Barcelona signing Frenkie de Jong has admitted he almost signed for Premier League side Tottenham.

De Jong will move to the Camp Nou in the summer after the Catalan giants agreed a €75 million deal with Ajax in January.

Rated as one of the world’s best young midfielders, the Dutchman was chased by Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

However, speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo, the 21-year-old revealed Spurs made a move for him last summer.

He said: “The moment wasn’t right. I wasn’t finished at Ajax, as I hadn’t yet played a full season in my own position.

“I was also injured in that period, so I was thinking, ‘Not yet’. I felt I should stay for another year at Ajax, or perhaps longer.

“I considered their [Spurs’] offer long and hard. I see Tottenham as a very stable club, and they are only getting better. They give young players a chance and I see Mauricio Pochettino as a manager who really improves young players. I like the kind of football they are playing. I think it would have suited my game.”

After sealing his move to Barcelona, though, De Jong can’t wait to get started for the Blaugrana.

“I’d always wanted to play for Barcelona,” he added. “The money they were prepared to pay Ajax [€75m, rising to €86m] showed me how serious they were. I felt I had to grab the opportunity, because maybe it wouldn’t come around again.

“Of course, [the fee] doesn’t mean I’ll automatically play from the start. But everything about Barcelona is beautiful. My family agreed I had to go for it. I’ll do everything in my power to succeed there.”

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WATCH: Lionel Messi scores stunning sixth La Liga free-kick of the season

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Lionel Messi

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde’s gamble in resting Lionel Messi backfired against lowly Villarreal and it took a Luis Suarez goal with the last kick of the game to rescue a point in a 4-4 draw.

The Argentina international was left on the bench for an hour as Valverde tried to give his star man a break with next week’s clash against second-placed Atletico Madrid followed by a Champions League quarter-final against Manchester United.

But they were heading for a first league defeat since November when they squandered a 2-0 lead to be 4-2 down in the 90th minute.

Messi drilled home a rasping free-kick before Suarez’s low, left-footed half-volley from a corner with three seconds remaining crept inside the post.

It ensured they hold an eight-point advantage over Atleti, who beat Girona 2-0 earlier in the evening, ahead of next weekend’s meeting.

Check out the video below to see Messi score his sixth free-kick in La Liga this season.

For the very latest news, analysis and opinion download the Sport360 app

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