The destruction of Barcelona by Paris Saint-Germain leaves their Champions League ambitions in tatters, in the midst of a season which could end without any silverware in the Camp Nou trophy cabinet.
In what could be the last season for Lionel Messi with the Spanish Giants, disarray and uncertainty surrounds this once great club.
Uproar amongst Barcelona Supporters
As one of the most followed clubs across all social networks, Barcelona boasts an army of supporters across the whole globe, avidly tuning in to watch live football online every time they are in action.
This latest debacle in Europe will have left many viewers furious, looking on with impotence while their favourite team was utterly torn apart. The 4-1 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain was a bitter pill for them to swallow.
Perhaps rubbing even more salt into the wounds of anguished fans, they witnessed Kylian Mbappé smash through a decrepit-looking Barcelona side, unstoppable on his way to a memorable hat-trick.
A legend and a future legend ðŸ˜ﾍ
But this moment belonged to Kylian Mbappe ðŸ’ª pic.twitter.com/hrov3hoznW
— Goal (@goal) February 17, 2021
The French striker has been constantly linked with an eventual move to Real Madrid, an irony which isn’t lost amongst Barça supporters witnessing the decline of their own club, while the biggest rival in Spain has ambitious plans for the future.
This is a Barcelona side that is devoid of the same talent of old. For every Frenkie de Jong or Pedri offering some glimmer of hope, there’s a Sergio Busquets or Gerard Piqué well past their primes.
Many additions to the squad in recent years have been poor, like square pegs in round holes or simply not up to scratch, lacking the quality which demanding fans want to see. They are hurting, and the loss against PSG came like another hammer blow to their morale.
The Messi Question Nobody Wants to Answer
After publicly declaring his desire to leave the club ahead of the current season, everyone connected to Barcelona has feared the worst. Without the supreme talent of Messi carrying this team, they would arguably be in a far worse situation.
What’s more, when his ailing team were thrashed 8-2 at home by Bayern Munich, eliminating Barcelona from the Champions League in the quarterfinals last season, that was probably the last straw.
Citing an optional release clause in the final year of his contract, then handing in a transfer request, Messi tried to force his move away. The Argentine ace was critical of the club and president Josep Maria Bartomeu, claiming there was no project to improve the team.
“In the end, he did not end up keeping his word.”
Lionel Messi says Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu broke a promise to let him leave the club. pic.twitter.com/0My6dyyM85
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 5, 2020
Eventually, things were temporarily patched up between Messi and the club, although facing a vote of no confidence, Bartomeu and the board resigned.
Since then, little has improved. Mired in a financial crisis and desperately trying to cut costs, Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez was sold to Atletico Madrid. His new club tops the table and he is the top scorer in La Liga, ahead of Messi, who was furious about the sale of his best friend to a direct rival.
All this paints a pretty grim picture, even ahead of upcoming presidential elections, with Messi almost certainly set to leave once his contract expires in June 2021.
Complete Rebuild on the Horizon
Given the disastrous conclusions to three consecutive Champions League campaigns, there hasn’t even been much domestic bliss to soften the blow. Barcelona have not won La Liga since 2018-19 or the Copa del Rey since 2017-18, while the last Supercopa de España was in 2018.
That’s a huge failure by the traditionally stratospheric standards of this club, indicating that nothing less than a complete rebuild is required, with or without Messi in the picture.