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    Player Ratings as Lionel Messi Runs the Show Again

    Barcelona’s strong first-half performance was enough to help them progress to the next round of the Champions League | David Ramos/Getty Images

    Barcelona progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a relatively comfortable 3-1 victory over Italian giants Napoli on Saturday evening.

    Barça started nervously, but their opening goal set the tone for the game, as they ripped I Partenopei apart over the next 45 minutes. It was a superb first-half display from la Blaugrana, and despite a shaky second period, they are now only three games away from European glory.

    Let’s get into some player ratings.

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    Lenglet opened the scoring with an excellent header | LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

    Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (GK) – 7/10 – Was fairly untroubled in the first half, only conceding from the spot. Had little to do in the second period despite Napoli’s dominance, but did come up with the necessary saves when required.

    Nelson Semedo (RB) – 8/10 – Flew up and down the right touchline like a madman, breaking behind the Napoli defence and supporting Lionel Messi to the best of his capabilities. Allowed the Argentine enough room to do his thing.

    Gerard Pique (CB) – 7/10 – Looked shaky in the opening exchanges, but quickly settled into his usual rhythm. Repelled plenty of high balls with typically stoic defending. Headed everything.

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    Clement Lenglet (CB) – 8/10 – Gave Barça the lead with a towering header, and delivered a strong performance against a variety of strikers. Stood up to the physical presence of Arek Milik late on.

    Jordi Alba (LB) – 8/10 – Caused plenty of problems with his attacking movement, whipping in several dangerous crosses and overlapping at will during a rampant opening spell. Retreated as the game progressed, performing his defensive duties expertly.

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    De Jong was a calming presence for Barcelona | LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

    Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 7/10 – Neat and tidy in possession, popping up on the left side of midfield to offer his services to his teammates. A typically classy display.

    Sergi Roberto (CM) – 7/10 – An unspectacular performance from Roberto, but he did the dirty work that so often goes unnoticed throughout the game. Put in some vital and timely tackles to prevent Napoli from running at the Barça defence,

    Ivan Rakitic (CM) – 7/10 – Laid on the opening goal with a wicked corner, and used the ball well in possession, regularly trying to penetrate the lines with clever vertical passes. Stupidly conceded a penalty just before half-time to let Napoli back into the game.

    David Ospina, Lionel Messi
    Messi curled a glorious finish into the bottom corner to double Barça’s lead | David Ramos/Getty Images

    Lionel Messi (RW) – 9/10 – Did Lionel Messi things, scoring an incredible individual goal to double Barcelona’s lead, bending a stunning effort into the far corner from a near-impossible position. Then had a second ruled out for a suspect handball decision. Won a penalty for the third goal of the evening. He was obviously really good, other than that.

    Antoine Griezmann (LW) – 6/10 – Not his best evening, but once again Griezmann was doing a job for his colleagues out of position. The Frenchman battled away on the left-hand side, linking up nicely with De Jong when he could. Pretty ineffective.

    Luis Suarez (ST) – 7/10 – Worked hard to create space for his fellow forwards, and got his reward by tucking away a penalty just before half-time. Ploughed on in the second half and got the job done.

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    Monchu came on to replace Antoine Griezmann | LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

    Monchu – N/A
    Junior Firpo – N/A

    Konstantinos Manolas
    Manolas did not impress during a dismal first half for Napoli | David Ramos/Getty Images

    David Ospina (GK) – 6/10 – Had little chance with any of Barcelona’s goals, and was solid with the ball at his feet when called upon. A surprisingly normal evening for a mental goalkeeper.

    Giovanni Di Lorenzo (RB) – 6/10 – Put up the best fight of the entire backline, while offering plenty of pace and vigour in attack. Looked far more comfortable going forward than doing his defensive duties.

    Kostas Manolas (CB) – 5/10 – Not the repeat of the dream evening Manolas enjoyed against Barça two years ago. Failed to get to grips with Suarez and Messi all evening, and looked extremely uneasy on the ball.

    Kalidou Koulibaly (CB) – 4/10 – Endured a tough night up against the best player in the world. Was found wanting on more than one occasion, before kicking seven bells out of Messi in the penalty area. And that was that for Napoli.

    Mario Rui (LB) – 5/10 – A night to forget for the Portuguese defender. Coming up against Messi and Nelson Semedo is the ultimate test for any full-back, and unsurprisingly, Mario Rui failed. Can’t blame him though, they’re really good at football.

    Fabian Ruiz, Nelson Semedo
    Fabian Ruiz had a great influence on the midfield battle for Napoli | David Ramos/Getty Images

    Diego Demme (CM) – 5/10 – Far, far, far too soft for Barcelona’s opening goal. Allowed himself to be pushed away from the ball, before blocking Koulibaly’s path and gifting the lead to the hosts. Demme may feel he was fouled, but he could have been stronger. Substituted at half-time, which says it all.

    Fabian Ruiz (CM) – 7/10 – Provided Napoli’s most creative threat from the midfield, floating between the lines and carving out some good scoring opportunities, either for himself or his teammates. A solid display.

    Piotr Zielinski (CM) – 5/10 – Struggled to get into the game, and often looked rather off the pace. Dug in and tried to support his teammates before being hooked as the match began to evade the visitors.

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    Insigne was the star of Napoli’s attacking front line | LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

    Jose Callejon (RW) – 6/10 – The most anonymous presence in the three-pronged attack, with his danger regularly nullified by the energetic Alba. Offered his usual levels of hard work and tireless running, but presented little in terms of end product. Substituted with 20 minutes to play.

    Lorenzo Insigne (LW) – 8/10 – Was bright and dangerous early on, but faded as Barça took hold of the game. Gave I Partenopei hope with a cooly-taken penalty on the stroke of half-time. Pulled his marker all over the pitch and was a major threat throughout.

    Dries Mertens (ST) – 6/10 – Missed a wonderful opportunity in the opening minutes, which would have undoubtedly changed the face of the entire game. Won a spot-kick by cleverly drawing a foul, but offered little else.

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    Lobotka added some steel to the Napoli midfield | LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

    Stanislav Lobotka – 6/10
    Hirving Lozano – 5/10
    Matteo Politano – 6/10
    Elif Elmas – 5/10
    Arkadiusz Milik – 6/10

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