As he watched helplessly whereas his Barcelona aspect had been ripped to shreds by a blistering Bayern Munich in an 8-2 thrashing, Lionel Messi should have been questioning if he’ll ever win the Champions League once more ought to he stay on the membership.
Messi has skilled some galling exits from Europe’s high competitors since he final lifted the trophy in 2015, however not even the disastrous defeats to AS Roma or Liverpool within the final two years may evaluate to this devastating quarter-final loss.
At least on these events Barca may take solace from the very fact that they had solely fallen quick by one aim and gained within the first leg of the tie.
In Lisbon, his aspect had been dealt a humiliation on the size of Brazil’s 7-1 defeat to Germany within the 2014 World Cup, or, nearer to dwelling, Barca’s 4-Zero hammering within the 1994 Champions League ultimate by AC Milan which proved the start of the tip for Johan Cruyff’s reign as coach.
This very a lot felt like the tip of an period for a workforce that dominated world soccer between 2009 and 2015 and had been much more hegemonic in Spain, profitable eight of the earlier 11 La Liga titles earlier than dropping out to Real Madrid this yr.
Messi, 33, has been the workforce’s non secular chief all through that point however the catalogue of failures in Europe has made the beforehand unthinkable situation that he may depart Barca, the place he has spent most his life, appear ever extra believable.
The Argentine has gained Europe’s high prize 4 instances, a feat solely bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo within the trendy period, however that quantity has begun to really feel more and more small with every failure since Barca’s final Champions League triumph.
The Catalans had been knocked out by Atletico Madrid in 2016, out-classed by Juventus in 2017 after which in some way contrived to throw away heavy first-leg leads over Roma and Liverpool in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
LAST YEAR OF CONTRACT
This humiliation will certainly deliver the query of whether or not to remain or to not the fore, significantly together with his contract operating out subsequent yr, which means he may be part of a European rival free of charge.
Barca nice Xavi Hernandez stated this week that Messi had earned the suitable to have an computerized renewal clause as a consequence of all the things he has given the membership, however, how his workforce has declined, will he we need to signal a brand new deal?
The Argentine might be 34 subsequent yr and until Barca make the novel modifications a distraught Gerard Pique referred to as for after the Bayern sport, it’s troublesome to see him being reunited with what he has referred to as “that beautiful Cup, which we desire so much”.
Messi has not hidden his concern concerning the workforce lately, giving a sensationally essential post-match interview when Barca surrendered the Spanish title to Real Madrid final month.
The ahead’s happiness isn’t just dictated by what occurs on the pitch. He has appeared more and more disillusioned with the membership within the final yr, talking out at sporting director Eric Abidal in January and likewise aiming hearth on the membership’s hierarchy over their dealing with of a current pay-cut.