Barcelona don’t belong in Europa League – Xavi

Barcelona manager Xavi has expressed disappointment in Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich that sent them to the Europa League – a competition in which he thinks his side don’t belong.

But Xavi also accepted Barca’s new reality and said that the club must “start again from zero” amid their most difficult campaign in recent history.

The last time Barcelona were ousted from the Champions League this early was 2000-01, when the Europa League was still known as the UEFA Cup.

What has been said?

“They were better than us,” Xavi said of Bayern Munich to Movistar. “This is the reality that now faces us. We’re in the Europa League. A new era starts today.

“Barcelona don’t belong in the Europa League, they belong in the Champions League. We start again from zero.”

How were Barcelona eliminated?

With a Benfica win over Dynamo Kyiv, Barcelona needed a victory of their own against Bayern Munich in order to advance to the knockout stage.

But against a full-strength Bavarian side that had beaten them 3-0 in their prior meeting, that proved too tall of an order.

Bigger picture

While the result on Wednesday was hardly a surprise given the way the rest of the season has gone, it has still provided another marker of the Blaugrana’s fall this year.

Their tally of two goals after their six group-stage matches was their lowest recorded total in the Champions League, and only in 1997-98 did they concede more than the nine they surrendered in the competition this season.

Attention now fully turns to La Liga, where they are in seventh place.

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