Leo Messi, jugador del Barcelona

Something's up: Messi, just one Champions League in six years


Albert Masnou


For the second consecutive year Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-final, too soon for a team that has the best front three in the world. The fans at Camp Nou were a 10 out of 10 against Juventus, the players did as much as they could and no-one can be blamed for the failure to perform a second miracle. The problem was not what happened on Wednesday at Camp Nou, but what ocurred in Turin last week. And in Paris. You can't get away with those performances in the Champions League against a rival like Juventus.  

Barça say goodbye to Europe and now must focus on domestic competitions, with a make or break game on Sunday. We shoud wait until the end of the season to analyse the results, but it doesn't look hopeful at the moment. The trident is still there, but things have been diluted. There's the trident but there's no depth. And many people can be blamed for that, Luis Enrique (with Unzue by his side) is on the first line. There are others behind him. 

With the idea of evolving their play, Barça abandoned a style to focus on another one, which focused on the goal scoring power of Lionel Messi and Co. And they forgot the defence and the midfield. The reinforcements who arrived haven't added a plus and now Barça are a team as capable of scoring six against PSG as they are of conceding four. What happens when they face a Juventus or an Atletico Madrid, as they did last season in the last eight? It's not enough to live with what Barça was. 

I don't believe, like Marcelo Lippe, that Barça "have been in freefall for a while" but there is some alarming data: In many way, Barça are allowing Messi's best years to escape. Since 2011-12 until 2016-17, the last six seasons, from 24 to 29, the Argentine (30 in June) has only won one Champions League with Barça. It's true that seasons are not solely based on winning the Champions League, but the continental competition is what ends up being the guidline for success.

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