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Stifled by Juve, routed by Roma and the Reds - Barcelona's four years of Champions League misery

By Opta
Lionel Messi

Liverpool, May 8: For most sides, four consecutive seasons without a Champions League trophy - or even a final - would be nothing to worry about. But most sides do not have Lionel Messi.

Barcelona's latest incredible European collapse against Liverpool on Tuesday (May 7) saw them slip out of the competition once more, making this Messi's longest stretch without getting his hands on club football's most coveted silverware.

The Blaugrana were sensational in winning the Champions League in 2014-15, yet they have since suffered humiliation after humiliation.

That rivals Real Madrid have lifted the trophy in three of those years does not help, with Messi targeting a response - and the title - ahead of this season.

They have fallen short again, however, as we look at a miserable four campaigns at Europe's top table for Barcelona and one of the sport's greatest ever players...

2015-16

The holders emerged from their group unbeaten and then dismantled Arsenal. But LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid proved a much tougher prospect in the last eight.

The European champions won the first leg at home, yet even that proved costly. They conceded first to Fernando Torres and were only able to recover the scoreline to 2-1 after the Atleti star's red card. A pair of Antoine Griezmann goals in Madrid sent Messi and Co out.

2016-17

Determined to wrestle their crown back from rivals Madrid, Barca came through a potentially tricky group ahead of Manchester City. Paris Saint-Germain were up next and it appeared the LaLiga side would crash out early until a sensational fightback - inspired by Neymar - saw them through 6-5 on aggregate in a scarcely believable finish at Camp Nou.

Yet all that hard work was for nothing as Barca were subsequently outclassed by eventual finalists Juventus. Paulo Dybala grabbed a first-half brace in a 3-0 home win in Turin, before the Bianconeri stifled Messi in trademark fashion back at Camp Nou.

2017-18

Now without Neymar, Barca bounced back by beating Juve in the group stages to top their pool. That set up a seemingly kind draw against an out-of-sorts Chelsea and then... Roma.

Ernesto Valverde's men raced to a 4-1 win in Catalonia, but Edin Dzeko's late away goal would prove crucial. The Giallorossi were patient back in Rome and scored three times without reply to advance on away goals in one of the most extraordinary upsets in Champions League history.

2018-19

Messi and Barca came out fighting this season and were boosted by Madrid's poor form. A difficult group was traversed with a minimum of fuss, before a late show in the last 16 saw off Lyon. Manchester United were no match for the LaLiga champions in the quarter-finals.

And the Blaugrana looked to be heading back to the big time - perhaps for a Johan Cruyff final against Ajax - after beating Liverpool 3-0 at home. Surely it could not happen again? But it did. The Reds, missing Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, won 4-0 on Tuesday to pile more misery on one of European football's most decorated clubs.

 
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Story first published: Wednesday, May 8, 2019, 13:20 [IST]
Other articles published on May 8, 2019
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