Thursday 21 September 2017

Spanish press scathing in their criticism of Barca Champions League flops

Luke Brown

Paris St-Germain stunned Barcelona 4-0 in the first-leg of their Champions League Round of 16 clash on Tuesday night, a result that sent shockwaves around Europe and left Barca on the verge of failing to qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time since 2007.

On Wednesday morning headlines across Spain and France are understandably dominated by the result, with the Catalan press especially scathing in their reaction to a performance widely described as a humiliation for Luis Enrique's side.

A working knowledge of Spanish isn't required to understand the front-page of Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo. 'Desastre' roared the front-page over a photograph of a disconsolate Lionel Messi trudging back to the centre-circle after yet another conceded goal. 

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Spanish newspaper AS featured images of all four of the goals Barcelona conceded on their front page on Wednesday morning, along with the headline ‘Siniestro Total’, or ‘total write-off’.

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Barcelona based newspaper SPORT was even more cruel. 'THIS IS NOT BARCA' shouted their headline, going to to describe the defeat as a 'humiliation'.

Inside the paper, a ruthless opinion piece described the team as "shipwrecked without a manager" before going on to insult Enrique in the worst possible fashion for somebody connected to Barcelona: by comparing him to former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho.

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And the criticism for Barcelona wasn't restricted to the morning newspapers. Immediately after the match, Enrique was interviewed live on Catalan broadcaster TV3, where it was put to him that he had not made any tactical changes during the match.

"You can tell that you didn't watch the game," was his angry reply, before storming off in the direction of the Barcelona dressing room. Rumours quickly began to spread that he was then physically held back from confronting the reporter, Jordi Grau, off-camera. 

But it's important to note that all of the Spanish media were dismayed at the full-time result.

Marca, the daily sport newspaper with strong connections to Real Madrid, revelled in the news. 'Emery destroys Barcelona' was their gleeful headline, with the match report labelling the game a "catastrophe" and describing the result as the "biggest debacle of the 21st century" for Barcelona.

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The French media was even more jubilant. ‘Prodigieux’ the front page of famous sports newspaper L’Equipe roared, along with a picture of birthday boy Ángel Di María wide-eyed in triumph.

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But perhaps of more interest were the player ratings the paper doled out to both teams.

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Predictably PSG’s players were rewarded with a healthy selection of 7s, 8s and 9s, with Adrien Rabiot, Angel di Maria and manager Unai Emery praised as the highest-performers on the night.

The Barcelona player ratings were less complimentary. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andrés Iniesta were all given humiliating 2/10 marks, along with manager Enrique.

Le Parisien also splashed with a picture of the jubilant Di María, described as “Magic!” while their match report was headlined ‘comme dans un rêve’: ‘as if in a dream’.

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And the weekly sports magazine France Football was also quick to lavish praise on PSG and suggested their performance was one of the greatest in the history of European football.

Independent News Service

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