A UEFA Champions League knockout round without Barcelona?
Anyone holding out hope that the Blaugranas weren’t sinking to new lows — given their relative highs — will have a hard time defending their position after Barca was again outclassed by Bayern Munich 3-0 and finished third in its group to join the Europa League.
New manager Xavi Hernandez and defender Ronald Araujo did not mince words about what the loss means to Barca.
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Araujo vowed to fight on in the Europa League to bring home a trophy that could signal the new era at Barcelona is a good one, but he’s clearly quite stung by the group stage exit.
“It’s a damning result and they had chances to make it worse,” Araujo said. “Ultimately, we didn’t not qualify because of this game but because of what we did in the other games. We have to keep on working and hope that good things will come for us soon. … Our objective now is to win the Europa League. We have to go out to compete and try to win it.”
Barca misses the UCL knockout rounds for the first time in two decades and may not return for some time unless it wins the UEL.
The Blaugranas sit 7th on La Liga’s table, six points back of the top four.
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Xavi is fuming.
“They’ve dominated us, we always want to dominate and subdue our rival but it’s been the other way around,” said Xavi via Marca. “We have to demand more of ourselves. We’re Barcelona. This has to be a turning point to change the dynamic and many things. We haven’t competed. This is the Champions League.”
“But this is our reality. It’s the situation we face, and we have to face the situation with dignity. Today begins a new era and a new stage. I’m pissed off. This is our reality and it pisses me off. But we have to face it. There’s no other way. Today a new stage begins and we start from scratch. Our goal is the Champions League, not the Europa League. We have to work hard. I don’t like the word failure, because we have tried. I love this club and I will give my life to make it work.”
Barcelona visits Osasuna on Sunday before a friendly visit from Boca Juniors. They need to get it together in a hurry, because money is again expected to be scarce in January unless they sell players.