Xavi Hernandez has stated that the Europa League is not where Barcelona belongs, but another humiliating loss to Bayern Munich on Wednesday demonstrated just how far they have fallen behind the Champions League elite.
Barca has scored two goals in a pair of 1-0 victories over Dynamo Kiev after six games in Group E. They failed to score a single goal and conceded nine, including a tie at home to Benfica and three 3-0 defeats, against Bayern and Benfica, the two most accomplished clubs in the group.
There appeared to be a way back, a possible road to qualification when Xavi took control after straight wins over Dynamo. But that was always predicated on Xavi’s arrival sparking a surge in a form that has failed to materialize.
On Saturday, Barca suffered Xavi’s first La Liga defeat at home to Real Betis, a fellow top-four candidate, and their Champions League place has also been jeopardized.
“I wanted us to compete in this Champions League and try to win it but the reality is we are not at that level. It’s hard, but that’s how it is,” Xavi said on Wednesday night.
The immediate financial impact will be significant, with Barcelona missing out on about 15 million euros in prize money for reaching the Champions League final 16 that the club had budgeted for.
They would have to win the Europa League to make the same amount of money.
Unexpected losses like these are disastrous for any team in the aftermath of the crisis, but it’s a hammer blow for Barcelona, which is still saddled with more than a billion euros in debt and attempting to begin a 1.5-billion-euro stadium and training facility redevelopment.