'A Barca that was unrecognisable': How the Spanish press saw Barcelona's Champions League exit

'A Barca that was unrecognisable': How the Spanish press saw Barcelona's Champions League exit

Barcelona's shock Champions League quarter-final exit at the hands of Roma has been described as a "total failure in Europe" by the Spanish press.

The Catalan club held a 4-1 first-leg advantage ahead of the return match in Rome on Tuesday night, but goals from Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas secured an unlikely 3-0 victory for the Italian outfit and sealed their place in the last four on away goals.

'A Barca that was unrecognisable': How the Spanish press saw Barcelona's Champions League exit

As a result, Barcelona's treble ambitions have been scuppered and questions have been raised about their mentality, as the Spanish side failed to progress past the quarter-final stage for the third successive season.

Ernesto Valverde's team look on course to reclaim LaLiga as they hold an 11-point lead over Atletico Madrid with seven matches remaining, but that has not stopped the Spanish press from condemning their poor performance at the Stadio Olimpico.

The headline of newspaper Mundo Deportivo read "The fall of Rome" and the Catalan-based publication continued with a picture of Valverde on his haunches adding: "Barca KO'd in the quarters" and "Dzeko, De Rossi and Manolas all score for superior Roma".

In an editoral, Mundo Deportivo also critically analysed the Barcelona boss' resistance against squad rotation, stating: "Europe saw a Barca that was unrecognisable, without spark, without shaft, without endurance, conditioned by the pressure and the intensity of Roma.

"In 2018, Barcelona has played 24 games. And in these three and a half months, Valverde has opted for an almost fixed block to which he has given little respite.

"Nine players have been starters in over 15 games. Valverde has continued to trust some men beyond the limit."

Madrid-based newspaper AS used a picture of the third goal for their front page, while also commenting: "Roma were better than Barca from pitch to pitch".

Marca, Spain's biggest-selling sports daily, had the headline of "Total failure in Europe", which was accompanied with a picture of a dismayed Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique, while also referencing the exit of Manchester City under former manager Pep Guardiola.

Marca also launched a scathing attack on the management style of Valverde, which read: "Ernesto Valverde is conservative. He doesn't like to risk much and on Tuesday night that approach took its toll.

"Valverde has put everything on winning LaLiga and by focussing on avoiding losing a championship that was already won he has burnt out his players. The lack of freshness was clear to see in Rome.

"Valverde's conservatism was also seen through the way the team was set up, as they were more worried about conceding goals than scoring their own away goal to kill the tie. The poor management of the substitutions was the icing on the cake."

Catalan-based publication Sport branded the defeat on their front page as: "Failure without excuses", while their match report headline read: "Blaugrana embarrassed in Champions League".

- PA

[h3]READ MORE: Watch: The brilliant reactions to Roma's incredible turnaround against Barcelona[/h3]

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