It was a night of utter humiliation for Barcelona as they went out of the Champions League after a crushing defeat to Bayern Munich.
Pundits labelled their 8-2 quarter-final loss “pathetic and embarrassing”, while Spanish football writer Guillem Balague said Barca’s proud heritage had been “thrown in the bin”.
Long-serving defender Gerard Pique did not hold back after the match, saying changes were needed – amid widespread reports boss Quique Setien, who has only been in the job since January, would be sacked.
What next for the five-time champions of Europe, once the most feared club side in the world?
‘Not all Setien’s fault’
Having finished runners-up to bitter rivals Real Madrid in La Liga, the pressure was already mounting on Setien, who is seven months into atwo-and-a-half-year contract.
His chances of remaining in charge after his side’s capitulation in Lisbon are slim, with some reports circulating that Barcahave already decided to sack him.
“He’ll be out, he won’t last,” said Chris Sutton, a Premier League winner with Blackburn Rovers, on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“You cannot be humiliated like this as Barcelona manager. And this is what it is – an absolute humiliation.”
Balague said it was unfair to lay all the blame with Setien, and said Friday’s surrender was the consequence of “many years of decline” at Barca.
“He was fourth choice when he was appointed,” Balague told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“This was his third game in the Champions League ever. But it was not his fault he was chosen and it is not fully his fault what is happening [at the club].
“Nobody has been intelligent enough to identify what is happening. Barcelona is so political and the players run the show.”
Spanish football writer Andy West said Setien is “certain to be fired”.
“Setien has not made many friends in the dressing room since his appointment in January, with key members of the squad – including Lionel Messi – reluctant to follow the significant tactical changes he was hoping to instigate,” he added.
Who is in the frame to replace Setien?
Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and ex-Everton manager Ronald Koeman have been linked with Barcelona.
Koeman, manager of the Netherlands since 2018, spent six years as a player at Barca between 1989-1995, while Pochettino has not had a job since beingsacked by Spursin November 2019.
“Pochettino is available and he is somebody who understands the side,” said Balague.
“Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Pochettino are friends.”
‘Something stinks at Barca’
Sutton, who watched Barca’s humiliation as a summariser for 5 Live, said Barca’s team is full of ageing players.
He said eight-time La Liga winner Sergio Busquets, 32, did not “have the legs anymore” to be a commanding figure in midfield, while former Liverpool forward Luis Suarez is “not the player he once was”.
“I can’t ever remember a Barcelona team being humiliated like this,” added Sutton.