Barcelona’s brilliant start to the 2022/23 Champions League campaign could not last, as manager Xavi’s first full season in charge produced another early exit from the competition for the five-time champion.
Xavi was part of the Barcelona teams responsible for four of those titles and the 42-year-old guided his new team to a 5-1 win over Czech side Viktoria Viktoria Plzen.
A class advance against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan proved the downfall of Barça, who lost 2-0 in Germany and 1-0 at San Siro on their way to finishing third in Group C.
Before they even had the chance to kick a ball in the fifth round against Bayern Munich, Inter Milan’s 4-0 win over Plzen early in the match sealed their fate and relegated them to the Europa League.
Barça’s night got even worse when they lost 3-0 to Bayern at Camp Now.
Who is next for Barcelona? How is their history in the Europa League? Here’s what’s in store for the Spanish giants.
How is qualification for the round of 16 of the Europa League decided?
The eight teams that finish third in the Champions League group stage are tied with the clubs that finish second in each of the eight Europa League groups.
The eight finalists from the Europa League group stage will be seeded in the draw, while their potential Champions League group stage rivals will not be seeded.
Clubs from the same federation cannot be drawn from each other, which means that Barça will not play against Real Sociedad or Real Betis if they end in a draw.
Who can Barcelona face in the Europa League?
From 26 October 2022, Barça will be able to play with one of the following clubs in the qualifying round:
Bodo / Brightness
The current runners-up of the Europa League groups are as follows: PSV, Rennes, Ludogorets, Braga, Manchester United, Midtjylland, Qarabag and Trabzonspor.
Has Barcelona already won the Europa League?
Not. More recently, they were eliminated by eventual champions Eintracht Frankfurt in last season’s quarter-finals.
How many times has Barcelona played in the Europa League?
Barcelona have played in the UEFA second division 23 times, including in previous editions such as the UEFA Cup (1971-2009) and the Fairs Cup (1955-1971). It was renamed “Europa League” in 2009-10.
In the 2003-04 campaign, Barça were eliminated by Celtic in the round of 16 and never reached the final, although they were semi-finalists on four occasions and lost by a goal each.
Barça were defeated by Liverpool in the final four in 1976 and 2001 and lost to PSV in 1978 and Bayern Munich in 1996. In the four years, the team they were defeated by ended up lifting the trophy.
How many times have Barcelona been knocked out of the Champions League group stage?
This is the fifth time Barcelona have been eliminated before the knockout stage since the Champions League group format was introduced in 1992.
Newcastle, Dynamo Kiev and PSV were their rivals when they suffered the same fate in 1997-98, with Manchester United, Brondby and Bayern making up the rest of the group a season later.
Barcelona were grouped with Leeds, Besiktas and AC Milan when they didn’t reach the finals in 2000-01, proving the last time they wouldn’t be in the knockout stages for 19 seasons, covering all but the last all-time leading scorer Lionel’s campaigns Messi with the club.
Bayern, Benfica and Dinamo were all part of the Champions League group before returning to the Europa League last season.
How much money will Barcelona lose by being in the Europa League compared to the Champions League?
The dizzying array of factors that decide how much a season at each competition is worth makes it impossible to set an exact price – but the financial difference is staggering.
A club’s performance in the country and Europe in recent years, their share of the TV market, how far they go in each competition and even the number of victories they earn along the way can make a huge difference to their final earnings. .
As an instant example, financial experts The Swiss Ramble found earlier this year that Scottish club Celtic earned £92m ($106m) in TV money alone in four years in the Champions League, compared to just £41m ($47 million) from the same income stream through six years in the Europa League.
By comparison, the 2022 Europa League winner pocketed US$9.73 million (£8.38 million) and the runner-up US$5.2 million (£4.48 million), while the Champions League winner this year took in €20m (£17.3m) with the runner-up pocketing €15.5m (£13.4m).
Then there are other less measurable financial effects like the loss of prestige, sponsorship deals and commercial power caused by being out of the Champions League after the group stage for another season.
Leaving the world’s most lucrative club competition is particularly painful for Barcelona because of their huge spending this summer, bringing in the likes of FIFA’s current best player Robert Lewandowski on massive salaries.
Barça made progress in reducing a debt level of around £1bn in early 2022, and the riches of the Champions League would have been immensely beneficial to the club’s attempts to make its books more manageable.