It seems to be going from bad to worse for Barcelona.
After almost going bankrupt and losing Lionel Messi as a result…the Catalan side have now suffered their worst start to a Champions League campaign.
Photo via CaughtOffSide
They fell to a shock 3-0 defeat to Benfica, which was the first time ever they’ve lost their opening two group matches. (They earlier also lost 3-0 to Bayern Munich)
The once-mighty Barca are now bottom of their group and are in danger of an early exit from the competition.
This also piles on the pressure on Barca boss Ronald Koeman, who has seen his side win just one of their last five matches in all competitions.
In fact, there is already talk that Koeman could be sacked in the coming days.
Photo via FC Barcelona
It is no coincidence that Barca’s worst Champions League start also happens to come in their first season without Lionel Messi.
The Argentine had been instrumental in their success over the years, and his departure to PSG has very clearly left a huge void that La Blaugrana are struggling to fill.
Messi, as much as he loves his former club, must surely feel a hint of relief that he no longer needs to put up with the fiasco at the Camp Nou. Unlike Barca, PSG are doing well both domestically and in Europe, and Leo stands a realistic chance of winning trophies with them this season.
Photo via EPA
So what next for FC Barcelona?
It does not look like their troubles will be over anytime soon. Their massive 1.3 billion euro debt leaves them unable to bring in new signings, in fact, they can barely afford to pay the wages of the players they currently have.
There is speculation that a company in Dubai is prepared to buy out Barca’s debts, which would significantly reduce some pressure on their finances. But the terms of this deal have not been made public, and it is unclear if it will even get past La Liga’s strict financial regulators.
For now, it seems the only option for Barca is to go into damage-limitation mode. Try and make the best of the squad they have, and hope for some good results here and there to salvage their season.
These are dark days indeed for Europe’s once-mighty conquerors.
By: Nicholas Darren John