Sunday 23 April 2017

Roy Keane refuses to write off Barcelona despite their Champions League humbling against Juventus

Lionel Messi could not save Barcelona from a Champions League defeat against Juventus. Photo: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
Lionel Messi could not save Barcelona from a Champions League defeat against Juventus. Photo: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Roy Keane believes Barcelona can bounce back from their comprehensive Champions League defeat against Juventus, after suggesting it is ‘too early’ to write off the Catalan giants.

Juventus marched into the last four of Europe's elite competition with a 3-0 aggregate win, as they restricted Barca to half chances in the second leg at subdued Nou Camp.

Barca overcame a 4-0 first leg deficit to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the last-16 of the Champions League, yet there were no repeat heroics on a night when Italian champions Juve doused the attacking ambition of their hosts with relative ease.

Successive clean sheets against a forward line featuring Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar was an impressive effort for Massimiliano Allegri’s side, yet Keane is convinced they can recover with a new manager coming in to replace outgoing coach Luis Enrique and high profile signings on their agenda this summer.

When asked by ITV Sport whether this was the end of Barcelona’s era as one of the true giants of European football, 1999 Champions League winner Keane offer this response:

“I wouldn’t go that far. I still think with the attacking players they have got, they can come back.

“Big clubs will always look to add one or two players at the end of the season and the only one you would look at is (Andres) Iniesta, who is coming towards the end of his career.

“Other than that, they are still an outstanding team. They have just come up short in the last week or two.”

Keane lavished praise on the rock solid Juventus defensive set-up, as they eased into the semi-final on the back of their hugely impressive 3-0 first leg win.

“It was a fairly comfortable night for them,” added Keane of the Serie A giants.

“No matter how well you defend, you are still going to give up a couple of chances, which Messi had and he didn’t take them.

“Messi still showed moments of magic, but Neymar and Suarez didn’t turn up for the two legs. If those two are at their best, you would still fancy Barcelona against most teams.

“Over two legs, Juventus were by far the better team and we saw their experience come through (at the Nou Camp).”

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