Football

Barcelona out of Champions League group for 2nd year in row

Barcelona out of Champions League group for 2nd year in row
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Barcelona have been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage for the second season running after Inter Milan beat Viktoria Plzen 4-0 on Wednesday.

Barca, therefore, will play in the Europa League in the new year regardless of their results against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou later on Wednesday and in their final match in Pilsen next week.

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Xavi Hernandez’s side opened Group C with a 5-1 win against Plzen, but defeats away to Bayern and Inter and a draw at home to the Serie A side left them on the brink of elimination.

Inter’s win took them on to 10 points from their five matches. Barca have four points, but Inter have the better head-to-head record in the event the teams finish level on points.

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It is the second season running that Barca, who have won the European Cup five times, most recently in 2015, have failed to make the last 16 of the Champions League following 17 successive years between 2004-05 and 2020-21 in which they reached the last stages of the competition.

After spending over €150 million on signings in the summer, including €45m to sign former Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, Barca’s budget for the season factored in them reaching the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

– Source: Barca look to replace Busquets in January

The failure to get out the group stages could cost them up to €20m in prize money, although how much they miss out on will depend on how they fare in the Europa League.

For example, in the most recent UEFA report from the 2020-21 campaign, Barca received €84.88m after exiting the Champions League in the round of 16 to Paris Saint-Germain.

Manchester United, in the same season, were paid €79.56m after reaching the Europa League final, where they lost to Villarreal, following a group stage exit from the Champions League.

Sources at Barcelona have told ESPN that the scale of the financial hit will also depend on other factors. While players will now be due less money in bonuses, there are also possible knock-on effects in terms of sponsorship and matchday income from an early Champions League elimination.

Barca will now have to focus their endeavors elsewhere. They will enter the Europa League in 2023 and have the Spanish Supercopa and the Copa del Rey to come. In LaLiga, they are in second place, three points behind Real Madrid having lost just one of their opening 11 games.

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