Barcelona inquest opens after 'historic humiliation'

Barcelona are in shambles after a shocking 8-2 Champions League debacle, and calls for change at the one proud club have already started.

It is not often that sports papers in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain agree on a headline but both Barcelona-based Diario Sport and Madrid-based Diario AS headlined their front pages “Historic Humiliation” on Saturday morning after Barcelona’s 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich.
Spain is licking its wounds after the quarter-final results left it without a representative in the semi-finals for the first time in 13 years, as Atletico went out a day earlier, also against German opposition in the form of RB Leipzig.
But all the focus was on the impending upheaval at chaos club Barcelona.
AS said Bayern had “flattened” a “pathetic” rival that currently exists in a state of “painful ridicule”.
In one opinion piece Sport said that Bayern had “ridiculed Barcelona” on a “nightmare evening”.
In its player ratings only Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba were giving marks as the rest were graded zero for their performance.
Sport’s verdict on Barcelona coach Quique Setien’s performance was headlined “Sacked” in anticipation of what will happen to the 61-year-old.
Its analysis continued: “He cannot last not even one more day in the job. The task has been far too big for him. He has nothing to offer.”
“Verguenza” meaning Embarrassment, shame or disgrace, was the single word plastered across the front page of Marca.
The Spanish sports daily declared this season, the first without a trophy since Frank Rijkaard’s final campaign in 2008, the "end of an era" at the club.
Its match report was titled “Historic debacle” and only three players – Marc Andre ter Stegen, Frenkie De Jong and Lionel Messi – got any marks in its ratings.
El Mundo Deportivo was no more forgiving. It called the 8-2 the “mother of all debacles” and highlighted the fact that on loan Philip Coutinho’s late goals only added to the sense of embarrassment. Not only had Bayern thrashed Barcelona but they had done it with the help of a Barcelona player.
“We are going to take certain decisions,” said Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu. “Some were already taken before the game.”
But there were calls for one of those big decisions to be the announcement of elections one year ahead of the official end of Bartomeu’s mandate.
Potential presidential candidate Victor Font said: “It is too many years of shame and sadness.
"The feeling for this night can only be called humiliation. Let’s not prolong the agony or lose any more precious time. We need Bartomeu to resign and for elections to take place.”
Veteran defender Gerard Pique called for change because "we must accept that we have hit bottom. Not just players the but, as a club, we aren't on the right road.
"If I have to go in order to change things I'll be the first to accept that. This was a horrible game, it's a dreadful feeling. It's shameful. Structurally we need changes at all levels."
Elections are however unlikely with the president expected to hang on into his final year and concentrate on finding a new coach. Mauricio Pochettino has been installed as the early favourite.
He is available, talented and speaks Spanish. He also recently stepped back from comments that he would rather “work on his farm in Argentina” than coach Barcelona, because of his history as a player and coach at local rivals Espanyol.
Pochettino told El Pais: “Espanyol is where I made my name but I am not arrogant and I don’t like having made a statement like that one.
“Perhaps now I would not have said that because in life you never know what will happen.”

Saturday, August 15th 2020
By Pete Jenson,

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