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Even when he's injured, Messi is still Barcelona's savior

BARCELONA -- The Camp Nou crowd was fearing the worst. Barcelona looked lost for much of the first half without Lionel Messi and the Catalans conceded early in the second as Javier Pastore fired Paris Saint-Germain ahead on a quick break. Eerie silence ensued and Barca was staring at a last-eight exit. It was time for Lionel Messi.

The Argentine is rarely on the bench these days, so his failure to start this match could mean only one thing: He was far from fully fit after injuring his hamstring in the first leg in Paris last week. But even his warming up on the touchline gave this ground a lift. And when he finally did come on, after 62 minutes, his mere presence changed the pessimistic panorama to an optimistic outlook. Hope had returned.



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