Why Messi would rip his leg off to score against Arsenal

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For Barcelona, this season's Champions League isn't about unprecedented back-to-back victories.

It isn't about Cesc Fabregas returning home to the Catalan capital.

It isn't even about tanning José 'The Translator' Mourinho's Inter Milan hide in a semi-final grudge match, although that would certainly be nice.

It's all about Barça performing the biggest 'up yours' since God created the incompatible concepts of a sense of guilt, a legal system, piranha fish and Vernon Kay.

It's all about Carles Puyol leading Barcelona out of the Bernabeu tunnel on May 22th, looking up at the buttock-clenching, fake grin-sporting, "where'd the €250 million go?" wondering Florentino Pérez and giving him the most massive of middle fingers.

"Dear Real, wish you were here. Lots of love, Barca xxx"

LLL even has the sensational thought that neither the Barça players nor fans would even be that bothered if they came a cropper in the final against either Manchester United or some plucky outfit from France.

After all, the Cannonball Run style journey from the Catalan capital by plane, train and automobile and the pre-final, flag-waving, Merengue-taunting, beer-drinking tour of Madrid will be pleasurable enough even without the sight of their poodle-permed captain lifting the Champions League trophy, once again.

Barcelona daily, Mundo Deportivo, sees Wednesday's Emirates encounter with the headline as another leg on this "Camino de Santiago (Bernabeu). Madrid via London" playing with the name of the famous pilgrimage that ends in the ancient Galician city.

But, like the famous hike across the north of Spain, the paper knows that the path is by no means an easy one and is plagued with hurdles, holes and bruised, battered foreign types having mental breakdowns - something that could happen if Nicklas Bendtner comes across Gaby Milito in a particularly bad mood.

Sport see the Arsenal game as "the first step" of this most modern of pilgrimages, with columnist Josep Maria Casanovas taking a trip down memory lane in London and recalling Andrés Iniesta's stunner in Stamford Bridge just under a year ago.

"We are in the quarterfinals, with our heads held high and with the confidence of champions with six trophies," boasts Sport's intrepid reporter before remembering the traditional caveat of mentioning that every game in Europe is a tough one.

It's safe to say Barca's last Champions League visit to London was memorable

Except those against Real Madrid, perhaps.

When the Champions League draw was made, Pep Guardiola claimed that Arsenal "was one of the worst rivals we could have got," but the Barça boss would have said the same for any of the English teams.

And whilst most predict the two-legged encounter to be a festival of flowing football to bring forth love wee from every corner of the globe, the more gloomy LLL remembers that supposed set-piece occasions rarely live up to everyone's lofty hopes.

What the blog does know, though, is that the rewards are so great, the bragging rights in Spain so eternal, that should Barcelona need one more goal in a week's time in the Camp Nou and the seconds are ticking away, then Leo Messi would rip his own leg off and hurl it at the ball if it would bring Barcelona one step closer to their day of destiny in Real Madrid's home.

That is the fiercest force of all that Arsenal will be facing on Wednesday night: the thought of world's biggest p*ss-take in just under two months time.

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