The chronicle of an announced death lived its final episode. It is not a novel by Gabriel García Márquez but a horror story in which he lives submerged Barcelona A while ago. This Wednesday, between Bayern Munich and Benfica delivered the knockout blow: the Bavarians thrashed it 3-0 and as the Portuguese beat Dinamo Kiev, the culé team was left out in the group stage of the Champions League after 21 years.
The premature elimination of the Catalans is as historic as it is predictable. The club that knew how to form the best team in the world not so many seasons ago has been going through a process of unprecedented self-destruction for some time. The bad incorporations, added to worse hiring of coaches, provoked a financial crisis that unleashed neither more nor less than in the departure of Lionel Messi, who went free to PSG.
Barsa suffers the win.
Perhaps it was the day that the Argentine said goodbye when Barcelona began to dig their own grave. If he was the best in the world who supported a team that hadn’t played anything for a long time. And without him, everything was different … Bayern did not leave him a choice. And it is logical. The Germans do not understand how to play half machine, much less regulate. They got three (Muller, Sané and Musiala), but if the result was not more bulky it has nothing to do with Lewandowski and company having mercy, but rather with the lack of aim that they suffered at times in the last meters.
Time will tell if the arrival of Xavi to replace Koeman has the expected effect and Barcelona manages to rebuild and be reborn from the ashes. Maybe now, without the pressure of the most important tournament on the continent, the brand new DT can focus on the League, in the Copa del Rey, in the friendly he has with Boca on December 14 and in the Europa League, a second-order competition that may well serve to shuffle and give again.
The truth is the former world champion midfielder in 2010 failed in his first major goal, which was to avoid an area where good old Ronald had left the team reeling. It will take time and you will have it. He has plenty of back to bank on one of the club’s most difficult moments so far this millennium. While Xavi searches and cannot find, Messi watches everything from Paris, already classified to the round of 16.
THE LAST ELIMINATION OF THE BARSA IN THE GROUP PHASE
You have to go back to the year 2000 to find the last time Barcelona was eliminated in the first round of the most important tournament in Europe. The team that was directed at that time by Serra Ferrer was third in the area shared with Besiktas, Leeds and Milan, seeing how the English and the Italians advanced in the Cup.
Guardiola, Puyol, Xavi, Rivaldo, Luis Enrique and Kluivert are some of the figures that belonged to that team. Interestingly, there is an important similarity between that campus and the one today. In both cases, Barsa saw what was the best in the world leave in the middle of the year. In 2000 it was Figo, who emigrated neither more nor less than Real Madrid, to stay with the Ballon d’Or at the end of the year. In this 2021 it was Lionel Messi who said goodbye to go to PSG, also keeping the award for the best of all …
Already in 2001, the culé team faced everything at that time called the UEFA Cup, a contest in which it reached the semifinals, an instance in which it was defeated 1 to 0 on the aggregate by Liverpool, a club that would later end up becoming champion.
21 years passed. Back in 2000, Messi was taking his first steps in the Lower La Masía, the dollar in Argentina was still worth 1 peso and Barcelona had only won one Champions League in its history. A story that increasingly misses Leo. The Barsa without him is no longer the same.