Published January 13, 2015
Players hugged each other on the field as 90,000-plus fans sang and waved flags in the Catalan colors of red and gold.
Weeks of mediocre play had been washed away. With a dominant, historic performance, Barcelona restored its reputation as the world's best soccer team, the one with the flashy passing game others keep trying to duplicate.
Barcelona's 4-0 mauling of AC Milan on Tuesday night not only advanced the Blaugrana to the Champions League quarterfinals and kept alive their bid for a fourth title in eight seasons, it helped regain the confidence that dissipated with the illness of coach Tito Vilanova, a first-leg defeat in Milan last month and consecutive losses to Spanish rival Real Madrid.