Barcelona have been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage for the second season running after Inter Milan beat Viktoria Plzen 4-0 on Wednesday.
Barca, who were already destined to play in the Europa League after Inter’s win, came out on the wrong end of a very one-sided 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou later in the day.
Xavi Hernandez’s side opened Group C with a 5-1 win against Plzen, but defeats away to Bayern and Inter and a draw at home to the Serie A side set up their ultimate relegation to European football’s second-tier competition.
“We were not at Bayern’s level today,” Xavi said after the loss to Bayern. “They were better. In Munich we were ourselves, but today they were better, intense. The elimination before the game affected us psychologically. Now we train again tomorrow and think about LaLiga.
“There were a lot of expectations, but we got a tough group. All sorts has happened to us in the group stage. It’s been cruel on us, but we did not compete well today.
“I have said that we have to be united, tackle the situation head on. We have been knocked out of the Champions League but the season does not end in October. There are other competitions.”
It is the second season running that Barca, who have won the European Cup five times, most recently in 2015, have failed to make the last-16 of the Champions League following 17 successive years between 2004-05 and 2020-21 in which they reached the latter stages of the competition.
After spending over €150 million on signings in the summer, including €45m to sign former Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, Barca’s budget for the season factored in them reaching the quarterfinals of the Champions League.