FC Barcelona's 3-3 draw at home to Inter Milan on Wednesday night leaves the debt-ridden club on the verge of an early exit from the Champions League for the second year in succession.The result, which came after a thrilling game, means Barca have to win both of their group games against Bayern Munich and Viktoria Plzen and hope that Inter fail to win either of theirs.
However, given that Plzen are arguably the weakest team in the competition and Inter's next game is at home to the Czechs, nobody is expecting a miracle and Barca's fate could even be sealed before they kick off at home to Bayern on October 26 if Inter beat Plzen in the early kick off.
"The Champions League has been cruel to us," said Barca coach Xavi Hernandez after the game, in which his side's defence left wide open spaces for Inter to exploit in the second half, reports Xinhua.The Spanish sporting press was also cruel on Thursday morning, with the Madrid-based, Diario AS and Marca both twisting the knife.
"On the edge of the disaster of every year," headlines Marca, whose Barcelona columnist David Sanchez defines Barca's Champions League display as "frightening and ridiculous," adding that "Xavi is shown up" by this.
Diario AS pointed to the sale of club assets that Barcelona made in the summer to allow them to spend around 150 million euros in new signings and fit the players into their wage ceiling."865 million euros thrown away and in ruins," headlines AS, also saying that the project of club president Joan Laporta "has been damaged."
The pro-Barcelona 'El Mundo Deportivo' expressed its disappointment that "no Barca player took responsibility to speak in the mixed zone" to the waiting journalists, and highlights the economic damage to the club.
"The club could lose over 21 million euros if they don't reach the quarterfinals," points out the paper, adding that the club had calculated for those 21 million euros in its budget for the season.Finally, 'Sport', another Barcelona based paper, headlines "Barca can't get over their demons in the Champions League," with another headline "Eyes looking at the floor, incredulity, shame... the image that reflects Barca's drama like none other."
On Sunday, Barca will travel to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to play Real Madrid: a game that offer a chance of redemption -- or total despair.