Arsène Wenger said Neymar, Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi "transform normal life into art" after elimination by Barcelona and our reporter at Camp Nou, Graham Hunter, agrees.
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Even after UEFA Champions League elimination by Barcelona, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger spoke for everyone who loves football when he said: 'We have to admire art and they have two or three players who transform normal life into art."
A phrase to go down in history – just as Barça's 'Trident' will do. In fact only thing which you could complain about in assessing the sublime, match-winning performance of Barcelona's infamous three strikers against Arsenal is that they scored in reverse order.
In Spain they're known as the MSN. But the goal flow went NSM – Neymar, Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi.
Other than that the Argentinian, Uruguayan and Brazilian transformed a nerve-jangling night against a clever, organised and daring Arsenal side into a 3-1 win on the night, 5-1 on aggregate. Art for art's sake? No, art for victory's sake.
Within their champagne performance there were individual little bubbles of excellence which help tell the tale of how exceptional their understanding is – over and above their remorselessness in front of goal.
After this win it's now 106 goals between the three of them this season alone. chasing down their previous total of 122 with over two months left. It would have been 107 goals, and perhaps the best combination between them they have ever conjured up had it not been for the visitors' back-up keeper David Ospina.
Moments before Neymar did make it 1-0 he lofted a laser-guided 45-metre pass that any NFL quarterback would have been proud of into a space where Messi had not been – but suddenly was. Taking that ball down out of the night sky should have been impossible. But Messi does not understand that word.
Yet when he cushioned it, effortlessly, and finessed the ball in one movement towards the goal net Ospina made what might well be the save of the European season. Glorious combination play. Football at its best.
But the opening goal came when Messi restrained himself from pinching the ball off Suárez' toes because he could see that the Uruguayan's body shape was slightly better than his to make the first time pass into Neymar's path.
The Uruguayan told UEFA.com: "It was a moment which shows the understanding we have between us on the pitch but the key thing was that between us 'Ney' was left one-on-one with the keeper and he scored."
Suárez, for whom Arsenal bid in the months before he chose to join Barcelona, admitted that the holders had faced a proper test: "We knew that because Arsenal came here with the first leg result against them they would use the fact they have tremendous quality and attacking players with lots of speed and create chances.
"That much we intuited," Suárez added. "So in that context the important thing is that we won, we went through and that's that."
However victory wasn't close to being assured until Barcelona's No9 volleyed home one of his best finishes – mid-air and finding Ospina's top left hand corner. "My goal was a product of how well Dani [Alves] crossed for me and when I hit it fortunately I got it just right and it went in. I think that was probably the moment that secured the win for us."
Alves, having set up such spectacular moment added: "I think our job is to help our team mates to score and their job is to give us wins which put us in the next round. "We needed to put in a massive effort tonight to beat Arsenal and all our ideas came off perfectly. As for Messi, people need to understand that he's going to stay the greatest for as long as he wants to."