Setback after setback. The dark times are not over for the Barcelona. Since the 8-2, at the hands of Bayern two years ago, a disastrous crisis broke out that Xavi It has not been able to reverse even with 153 million euros of investment in its workforce. Not even Robert Lewandowski himself has been able to avoid the inevitable with his goals. The nightmare of the Europa League has come true again in Catalonia. And there is nothing that can be done.
“Is Champions he is being cruel to us”, expressed Xavi after his draw (3-3) against Inter Milan at the Camp Nou and he repeated it in the run-up to the duel against Bayern. The culé coach could not find a better explanation for his regret and, in fact, perhaps there was none at that time.
He was aware that after the unfortunate draw with Inter, the chances of qualifying for the round of 16 were almost completely reduced. There was a minimal hope, of course, but the Italian club was responsible for vanishing it with a win over the modest Viktoria Plzeň (4-0), in whom the Catalans had taken refuge.
Similarly, what happened in Milan had little relevance after Barcelona -hours later- could not even manage to beat Bayern Munich at home. That is to say, in the most positive scenario of Viktoria Plzeň having beaten Inter, the Barça squad would still be eliminated with this massive defeat suffered at the Camp Nou (3-0).
The crisis, then, cannot be made up any more. The different efforts to resurface with Xavi at the helm were in vain. In fact, Barça could only get one win in the current edition of the Champions League and it was against the Czech team, which has been competing since the preliminary phase of the tournament. Thus it has become clear that it is not about fortune, chance or – as Xavi himself proclaims – “cruelties”.
The Europa League, the new destination
The miracles did not happen this date and much less with Bayern -his biggest nightmare- on the road. Memories of Vietnam tormented the Catalans in recent days and finally, the nightmare came true with another elimination in the first round of the Champions League.
Last season, a landslide defeat against the Bavarian team at the Allianz Arena (3-0) meant Barcelona’s fourth elimination in the group stage in its entire history. This time, history repeated itself, but it was not even necessary to play against Bayern to say goodbye to the competition.
Wednesday’s landslide loss at the Camp Nou was just a knockout blow that simply couldn’t be avoided. With this, Barça was relegated for the second time in a row to third place in their group, with which they will have access -like it or not- to the Europa League.
But already at this point, having the Europa League as a destination represents a real humiliation for Barcelona. Even this becomes more humiliating than the recent eliminations in final instances -Roma, Liverpool and Bayern-; it is the reality you have to deal with.
Now, the team led by Xavi will have to concentrate on winning, as a consolation prize, this competition, which is not easy at all. In fact, Barcelona has already participated 12 times in this competition and has never been able to win it before. At most he has reached the semi-finals.
Not to go too far, in the previous season, the Barça team fell in the quarterfinals against Eintracht Frankfurt, later champion of the tournament. And now there is no guarantee that history can be different for the Catalans.
Be that as it may, all this does nothing more than reflect that the Spanish club has fallen into a dead end. Failure corrodes him in recent years. Things have been going wrong for a long time and apparently there is nothing that can be done to remedy it. At least not soon.
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.