"Gone is the romance that was so divine,
'tis broken and can not be mended"
Every Barcelona fan is probably thinking like this song from Harry Nilsson's song 'What 'll I do?'. They did not expect that result against Bayern Munich. Well, nobody did.
Bayern were in unstoppable form and they were ruthless on the night. But you find it difficult to find words to describe Barcelona's situation. How on earth did a club like Barcelona stoop to this level? That humiliation was expected, but this? This is no humiliation, this is more than that.
This was the first time they had conceded eight goals since 1946, this is the highest number of goals conceded by a team ever in a Uefa Champions League (UCL) knockout match.
Where will Barcelona hide their faces? How will they? They can not.
What went wrong?
Well, everything. The whole of FC Barcelona is a hot mess right now. They have shown a lack of planning while bringing in players, their managerial decisions have been shambolic for years now. But the biggest problems in the Catalan club can be singled out to two. One, the squad is ageing. Two, the board is focused more on financial gain than on the pitch.
Barcelona fielded a squad of which the average age was 29 years and 329 days, making it the oldest XI they have ever fielded in their history of UCL. That showed on the pitch, players like Sergio Busquets, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Arturo Vidal, Jordi Alba were continuously outpaced and outplayed by the younger and fitter Bayern players, leading to the shameful result.
The second, the board under Josep Maria Bartomeu. The board have failed to bring in necessary players to fill up the holes in the team and have destroyed the link from the main team to the academy. They have splashed cash all over for players they did not quite need but were a brand, for definite financial purposes. Only a handful of signings have clicked since 2014 and the board must take responsibility for that.
What lies next?
Barcelona have already decided to sack coach Quique Setien and directors Eric Abidal and Oscar Grau, according to various reports. President Bartomeu has already said that they had plans in mind even before this game and they will be executing them in the coming days.
As Gerard Pique said, Barcelona have hit rock bottom. Truly, they have. It is the end of an era and Barcelona need a complete overhaul.
According to reports, they are set to appoint Mauricio Pochettino as their next manager. Having only managed Tottenham Hotspurs, Southampton and Barcelona's local rivals Espanyol, questions remain if he can take over the dressing room and get the backing from the fans, which has been a problem since Luis Enrique left.
Reports suggest that the Barcelona board of directors will have a meeting on Monday to decide the future of the current board under Bartomeu and election is likely. Also, other reports have also said that core players have asked for an election right away and also have demanded Xavi as the new manager.
The Catalan club needs to offload big names like Busquets, Pique, Rakitic, Vidal and Suarez. It is time and there can not be anything worse than that, so in a desperate attempt to revamp, they need to have all hands on deck and put everything in a bet to return to their glory days.
Lionel Messi was subpar at Lisbon, considering his standards. But again, it is a game of 11 men and when the whole midfield looked as dysfunctional as it could in real life, there is nothing much left to do for a man, even if the man is Lionel Messi. He is not the problem for Barcelona and he will not be the saviour. The problems lie deep into the club and changes must be brought from the grassroots level, they have no other way to come back.
Bayern Munich right-back Joshua KImmich said after the match that it was hard to comprehend that they won 8-2 against Barcelona. It is for anyone.
Barcelona fans might have expected a defeat going into the tie, maybe an embarrassing scoreline. But what they got was beyond that, beyond even calling it a humiliation.
And if changes are not drastic, Barcelona might even sink lower and the nightmare that started at Lisbon might continue for a long long time.