Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Spanish press react to Barcelona elimination at hands of Chelsea

Chelsea's Didier Drogba, left, embraces Lionel Messi, from Argentina, at the end of the semifinal second leg Champions League soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Referee Cuneyt Cakir, right, shows a red card to Chelsea's John Terry during a semifinal second leg Champions League soccer match against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Fernando Torres (L) of Chelsea passes by goalkeeper Victor Valdes of Barcelona to score the equalizing goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at the Camp Nou stadium on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Chelsea's Fernando Torres from Spain celebrates his goal during a Champions League second leg semifinal soccer match against Barcelona at Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Chelsea fans react while watching the Champions League semifinal second leg soccer match against Barcelona played in Barcelona, in London, Tuesday April 24, 2012. Chelsea won the first leg match against Barcelona 1-0. (AP Photo/Tim Hales)
FC Barcelona's Sergi Busquets reacts after Chelsea's Sergio Torres scores during a semifinal second leg Champions League soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Chelsea's Didier Drogba reacts at the end of the semifinal second leg Champions League soccer match against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Chelsea's Didier Drogba from Ivory Coast celebrates after a Champions League second leg semifinal soccer match against Barcelona at Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. Chelsea drew 2-2 with Barcelona to win the match 3-2 on aggregate. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Chelsea's Didier Drogba from Ivory Coast celebrates after a Champions League second leg semifinal soccer match against Barcelona at Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. Chelsea drew 2-2 with Barcelona to win the match 3-2 on aggregate. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Lionel Messi of Barcelona reacts during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Cesc Fabregas of FC Barcelona (2nd R) argues with Frank Lampard of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Didier Drogba of Chelsea greets his teammate Fernando Torres as he is being substituted during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at the Camp Nou stadium on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Raul Meireles of Chelsea FC is shown a yellow card by referee Cuneyt Cakir during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Roberto Di Matteo caretaker manager of Chelsea celebrates victory at the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Fernando Torres of Chelsea CF (C) scores his team's second goal under a challenge by goalkeeper Victor Valdes of FC Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea reacts during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Frank Lampard of Chelsea clashes with Cesc Fabregas of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Frank Lampard of Chelsea clashes with Cesc Fabregas of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates with his team-mate Andres Iniesta (R) after Iniesta scored their team's second goalduring the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: John Terry of Chelsea FC (L) reacts as he is shown a red card by referee Cuneyt Cakir during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Chelsea's Fernando Torres from Spain, unseen, celebrates his goal with Frank Lampard, right and teammates, during a Champions League second leg semifinal soccer match against Barcelona at Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi
Barcelona's Lionel Messi from Argentina, left, misses a penalty beside Chelsea's Raul Meireles, second left, Jose Bosingwa from Portugal, third left, Branislav Ivanovic from Serbia, third right, goalkeeper Petr Cech from Czech Republic and Ashley Cole, right, during a Champions League second leg semifinal soccer match at Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
FC Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, left, scores past Chelsea's goalkeeper Petr Cech from Czech Republic during a semifinal second leg Champions League soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Barcelona's Javier Masherano, front left, and Sergio Busquets, right, jump for a ball with Chelsea's Didier Drogba during a Champions League semifinal second leg match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Ashley Cole (R) of Chelsea reacts to Isaac Cuenca of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at the Camp Nou stadium on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Ashley Cole of Chelsea chats with goalkeeper Petr Cech during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at the Camp Nou stadium on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Raul Meireles of Chelsea CF is shown a yellow card by referee Cuneyt Cakir during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Didier Drogba (L) of Chelsea celebrates with team-mates at the end of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: John Obi Mikel of Chelsea celebrates at the end of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 24: Cesc Fabregas of Barcelona and Lionel Messi of Barcelona look thoughtful during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on April 24, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The Spanish press were this morning reflecting on Barcelona's shock exit from the Champions League against Chelsea, pointing out the Catalans' bad luck and the "three darkest days" of coach Pep Guardiola's four-year reign.

The holders looked to be on course to overturn their 1-0 semi-final first-leg deficit when they took a 2-0 lead on the night through Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta, and found themselves playing against 10 men for over 50 minutes following the dismissal of Blues captain John Terry for kneeing Alexis Sanchez.



But Roberto Di Matteo's side grabbed a crucial away goal on the stroke of half-time through Ramires and then, after Barca talisman Lionel Messi had crashed a penalty against the bar and another shot against the post, ensured their progress as Fernando Torres' stoppage-time strike earned the visitors a stunning 3-2 aggregate win.



Madrid-based Marca revelled in Barca's failure, declaring: 'Nightmare at the Camp Nou'. Their editorial elaborated with: 'CHAMPION is eliminated by 10 MEN OF CHELSEA', and 'Barcelona is out of La Liga and the Champions League after the three darkest days of the Guardiola era'.



Real Madrid's 2-1 victory at the home of their arch rivals on Saturday night moved Jose Mourinho's side seven points clear the Primera Division summit with four games remaining.



El Mundo labelled last night's result: 'Mortal blow at the Camp Nou' and questioned: 'Is this the end of the victorious cycle?'



Barcelona-based Sport took a more sympathetic view, headlining: 'Football punishes Barca'.



It read: 'Unjust, cruel, horrible, unmerited. Any adjective is not enough to define the incredible elimination of Barca at the hands of Chelsea. Few times has a team done so much to deserve to reach the Champions League final as that of Guardiola's. And rarely has a rival, with so little, gained that very prize. The fact is that the Blues scored three goals from three chances in 180 minutes. And they advanced to Munich.'



AS went with simply: 'Adios Barcelona'.



It continued: 'An ultra-defensive Chelsea eliminated Barcelona to reach the final in Munich. The English team played with 10 men for 52 minutes. Fernando Torres made it 2-2 on the night. Messi missed a penalty and struck the post.'



The Madrid-based daily also pondered the future of Guardiola, who has guided the club to 13 trophies since taking charge in summer 2008 but has not yet committed himself beyond the end of the campaign as he prefers one-year contracts.



'Pep to speak with the president about the future,' it said, before quoting the 41-year-old's post-match thoughts: "We did not score at the opportune times and we have paid for that. Now, we're thinking about next year. I looked at what we have done wrong to tell the players, and cannot find anything."



Barcelona have won two of the last three Champions League crowns, but El Mundo Deportivo looked back on their other unexpected defeats.



'FC Barcelona lose to Chelsea, as in Bern [1961 final against Benfica] and against Inter [2010 semi-final],' it read.



'HISTORICAL Barca has fallen in the semi-final against Chelsea in a game full of bad luck, in which Messi missed a penalty and hit the post while the English team took advantage of their two chances.'



It also spoke of Guardiola's contract situation alongside a pained-looking image of the coach on the touchline, saying: 'Now turn to take a decision'. It added: 'Pep Guardiola, who lamented the bad luck throughout the tie, has assured that in the coming hours the president will deal with his and [assistant] Tito Vilanova's renewals.'



Madrid's El Pais went with the headline: 'The most tragic monologue of Barcelona', and followed up with 'Barca crash against the Chelsea wall on a fateful night for Messi'.

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