‘His throne wobbles’: Spanish press round on Lionel Messi after Barcelona’s Champions League thrashing by Bayern Munich


The Spanish media labelled Barcelona’s 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich a “total humiliation” as they crashed out of the Champions League.

A rout started by Thomas Muller was wrapped up by Philippe Coutinho, on loan from Barca, to add insult to substantial injury.

“Vergüenza” (shame) was the headline splashed across Marca’s front page on Saturday morning, describing the game as a “massacre that will never be forgotten”.

Analysis by journalist Hugo Cerezo said time was up for manager Quique Setien, but that ultimate responsibility for Barcelona’s decline lay at the door of president Jose Maria Bartomeu.

“For the fourth season in a row,” he wrote, “Barcelona were on the wrong end of a thrashing in the Champions League. After Juventus, Roma, Liverpool and now Bayern, the futures of those involved are up in the air.

“More experienced players like Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal were there for all four, while the likes of Sergi Roberto, Nelson Semedo and Clement Lenglet will see their reputations hurt by this latest loss.”

And Cerezo added a criticism of the great man himself. “Barcelona can no longer rely on just Messi to beat teams like Bayern, while his form this season hasn’t been up to his high, high standards.”

AS’s Javier Miguel held little back in his assessment of Messi’s performance, accusing the captain of being the first player to check out of the game and give up any efforts of revival.

“He would do well to watch his friend Neymar’s game against Leipzig,” Miguel wrote of Messi. ”His throne is beginning to wobble.”

Santi Gimenez wrote that this result had been coming, and that Barcelona had failed to heed the warnings of previous defeats like Liverpool’s famous comeback at Anfield.

He also blamed Setien for being “paralysed” on the bench and failing to make alterations to help his team once Luis Suarez had scored to pull the game back to 4-2.

“Coutinho, yes, the most expensive signing in the club’s history, in the 86th minute scored to make it 7-2 and three minutes later made it 8-2. Barca are stuck in hell.”