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Grim future: Loss to Bayern exposes Barcelona’s new reality

MADRID —
Barcelona must brace for some powerful instances forward whereas adjusting to the post-Lionel Messi period.

That message was clear after the 3-0 loss at dwelling to Bayern Munich within the Champions League on Tuesday, the group’s first defeat since Messi left amid the membership’s monetary struggles.

“It’s what it’s, we’re what we at the moment are,” veteran Barcelona captain Gerard Pique mentioned after the Catalan membership was outplayed from the beginning on the Camp Nou. “It is a difficult season.”

Trying nothing just like the group that used to thrive when Messi was on the sphere, Barcelona could not get a single shot on purpose your complete match and noticed Bayern consistently threaten the opposite means.

“We want to have competed higher, however that is what we now have proper now,” Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman mentioned. “I am unable to complain about our angle, we tried our greatest. However there’s a distinction in expertise and a distinction between a group that has performed a very long time collectively and our group with numerous younger gamers. It’s tough to simply accept, however we now have to maintain working.”

The loss got here greater than a yr after the embarrassing 8-2 debacle in opposition to Bayern within the quarterfinals of the Champions League two seasons in the past, a defeat that started exposing Barcelona’s struggles on and off the sphere.

“Poor Barca,” learn a front-page headline from sports activities each day Marca on Wednesday.

“The unhappy actuality,” mentioned the each day Sport.

Koeman, who was employed shortly after the rout in opposition to Bayern, mentioned it’s going to take time for Barcelona to return to a prime degree.

“Our younger gamers have lots of potential, in two or three years they are going to be enjoying a lot better,” Koeman mentioned. “However proper now, it’s what it’s.”

Koeman additionally misplaced Antoine Griezmann within the switch window final month, when the group’s most important addition was Netherlands ahead Memphis Depay. The membership added veteran Sergio Aguero however he’s among the many a number of gamers recovering from damage, together with kids Ousmane Dembele, Sergino Dest and Ansu Fati. Koeman used 18-year-old Yusuf Demir and 17-year-old Gavi on Tuesday. Pedri Gonzalez, additionally 18, was a starter.

“I take a look at the constructive incontrovertible fact that we had some 18-year-old gamers coming into the match,” Pique mentioned. “It is our actuality now.”

Barcelona must rely rather a lot on its kids because it tries to get better from dire monetary situations attributable to the pandemic and poor administration. The Catalan membership wasn’t capable of hand Messi a brand new contract and noticed him go away without spending a dime to Paris Saint-Germain, one of many most important contenders for the Champions League title this season.

There have been indicators Barcelona followers weren’t too optimistic after they failed to purchase all tickets out there for Tuesday’s match, one thing that not often occurred when Messi was nonetheless round, particularly in a giant Champions League match.

Pique mentioned it was “hurtful” to listen to jeers from the Camp Nou crowd for Sergi Roberto, who was singled out for his poor efficiency whereas enjoying improvised on the suitable flank.

Pique mentioned the subsequent few weeks will likely be key for Barcelona, a five-time champion in Europe’s prime competitors.

“We have to win our subsequent matches within the Champions League and keep among the many leaders within the Spanish league,” Pique mentioned. “Proper now we’re not thought of favorites however we’ll see what occurs on the finish of the season. Chelsea additionally wasn’t the favourite to win the Champions League final season.”

Barcelona’s subsequent match in Group E will likely be at Benfica later this month. Benfica opened with a 1-1 draw at Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday.

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