Bayern Munich mercilessly defeated Barcelona with a stunning 8-2 win in a Champions League quarterfinal in Lisbon on Friday, notably one of the darkest days for Lionel Messi and probably a hint of the end of his era in Catalonia.
The question left for Barcelona is what happens to them now. Messi was 27 when they last won the Champions League in 2015. He is 33 now and he may have to make up his mind whether he needs to leave the Camp Nou if he wants to win one again.
It isn’t likely that Quique Setién will stay as Barca manager after this tough loss. They came second to Real Madrid in La Liga this year. The Barca board have long been scolded for wasting Messi’s talent.
Thomas Muller scored twice either side of goals from Ivan Perisic and Serge Gnabry in a stunning opening 31 minutes at an empty Estadio da Luz, with a David Alaba own-goal having briefly brought Barcelona back level in the football game.
Luis Suarez pulled it back to 4-2 at one point in the second half, but Barcelona then caved in, with Joshua Kimmich getting Bayern’s fifth before three more goals in the final stages, one for the prolific Robert Lewandowski and two for substitute Philippe Coutinho.
The fact that on-loan Coutinho scored twice was truly the humiliating part of the game. Barca spent huge money to sign the Brazilian in 2018, but he was then sent to Bayern on a season-long loan in 2019.
This was Bayern’s 19th consecutive victory in all competitions, and a 28th game unbeaten for Hansi Flick’s side. They have now scored 39 goals in nine Champions League outings this season.