One year, 7 months and 18 days. Exactly 597 days have passed since Leo Messi played his last Champions League match with Barcelona and since then the Catalans have not even been able to pass the group stage of the Champions League.

All Barcelona fans knew that August 8, 2021, when Messi said goodbye as a Barça player between tears, that the worst was yet to come, but few really imagined what fate would bring two years later.

Messi played his last Champions League match with Barcelona on March 10, 2021. It was the second leg of the round of 16 against Paris Saint Germain (1-1), a practically inconsequential match after the 4-1 first leg against that team led by Mbappé and that was light years away from the azulgrana.

One year, 7 months and 18 days, exactly 597 days later, Barça without Messi is even worse. Orphan of the best in its history and with the perpetual suspicion of, as so many other times, the club has not been up to the task of dismissing a myth, in this case the myth of Barcelona.

With Messi, Barcelona won four of the five ‘Champions’ they have, the last one was in 2015, where that forward formed by the Argentine, Luis Suárez and Neymar jr, the MSN, dominated continental football with an iron fist.

After that triplet, and those elections in which Josep Maria Bartomeu rose to the presidency with the motto: “Triplet, trident”, in Europe everything went downhill.

In the three following seasons (from 15-16 to 17-18), Barcelona reached the quarterfinals. In the first they fell to Atlético de Madrid (21 and 2-0), in the next against Juventus (3-0 and 0-0) and in the last against Roma (4-1 and 3-0), in the first year of Ernesto Valverde, who replaced Luis Enrique Martínez.

In 2018-19, Liverpool came from behind at Anfield (4-0), 3-0 at Camp Nou to prevent Barcelona from reaching the final; and in 2019-20, the debacle in Lisbon and a single match (quarters) against Bayern Munich (8-2) and the goodbye of Quique Setién.

“Today we can’t win the Champions League,” Messi said then, but that maxim is still valid today, because since Messi left, Barcelona hasn’t even passed the group stage.

Last year it was Bayern Munich and Benfica who passed; this one Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. Last year he had to play the Europa League and this, too, the journey through the desert can be long for Barcelona.

And it is that with the pandemic the perfect storm was unleashed for Barcelona. Bartomeu’s board resigned, pressured by the so-called ‘Barçagate’ in October 2020, and shortly after it became known that the economic management of that management team, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, put the Barça entity against the wall.

With the highest wage bill in the world and exorbitant transfer payments, the total debt stood at 1,173 million euros, 730 million in the short term. The new management team, chaired by Joan Laporta, weathered the storm as best they could, but it was impossible for them to retain Messi.

The Argentine played 149 games in the Champions League, 12,337 minutes, scored 120 goals and lifted 4 Cups (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015). Surely in his 17 years as a Barcelona player, the culé entity could have conquered some more, since he had for so long the most dominant player on the football scene in recent years, but…
With a contract until June of last year with PSG and his head set on the World Cup, where he can rise once and for all, Leo Messi will have to decide his fate again for next year. Paris? Miami?

In Barcelona, ​​Joan Laporta wants to get rid of a thorn in his ‘Blaugrana’ heart. Will he be able to convince Leo to retire as a Barça player and close the wound? Intimately, the Barça president assumes the challenge.

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Source: Critica

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Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a freelance writer working on news website. He contributes to Our Blog and more. Wise also works in higher ed sustainability and previously in stream restoration. He loves running, trees and hanging out with her family.

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