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After a lifetime of putting opponents through absolute hell, the boot was finally on the other foot for the world’s greatest player last night.

And the little genius will never forget the shame of this Champions League thrashing by rampant Bayern Munich.

If Barcelona had thought that surrendering their Spanish League title to Real Madrid was as bad as it could get, it was nothing to compare to the carnage they suffered here.

Manager Quique Setien can start packing his bags right now because there is no way back for him after this pitiful confirmation of just how far this once great team has fallen.

And you have to wonder if this is going to be the end of an era for Nou Camp legends Messi, Sergio Busquets and Gwerard Pique.

It is now seven years since Bayern last lifted the European Cup and Pep Guardiola knows the team he helped to assemble during his three years in charge have taken their game to a frightening new level.

Now the Manchester City boss will be fearing the worst for Wednesday night if his team makes it through tonight’s quarter-final clash with Lyon.

Because even the greatest coach in the world will have his work cut out stopping a team who have now scored a staggering 155 goals this season.

The build-up to this game was overshadowed by the news that Barca centre-half Samuel Umtiti had tested positive for coronavirus.

But as the French international was already ruled out by a knee injury and had not travelled to Lisbon, the game was never threatened by the diagnosis.

Yet how Barcelona could have done with their big World Cup winner on a night when their defensive limitations were ruthlessly exposed by Bayern’s brilliance.

The German Champions looked like they were going to score every time they crossed the halfway line.

The writing was on the wall for Barca’s ageing superstars right from the off when Thomas Muller fired Bayern into a fourth minute lead.

The veteran forward was making his 113th Champions League appearance, which is a new record for any German player.

And he was simply unstoppable as he constantly drifted between the lines to leave his ragged opponents chasing shadows.

Barcelona hopes were briefly raised by Alaba’s 7th minute own goal, shanked over the head of Manuel Neuer as he tried to cut out Jordi Alba’s pass to Luis Suarez.

And Barca could even have taken the lead a couple of minutes later when Sergio Busquets’ cross-shot evaded everyone and bounced off the far post.

It was a crazy start to a crazy evening but it was to prove the last time Setien’s suffering stars had any hope of progressing to the last four.

Confirmation that this wasn’t going to be their evening arrived in the 22nd minute when Serge Gnabry robbed the loitering Sergi Roberto to tee up Ivan Perisic for an unstoppable shot into the far corner.

It is hard to believe that Arsenal pocketed just £5million when they sold Gnabry to Werder Bremen four years ago.

Because the young winger has looked a cut above anything at the Emirates since he joined Bayern the following year.

He put this tie to bed in the 27th minute when he held off Clement Lenglet to hammer past shell-shocked keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Yet Hansi Flick’s men were not finished yet and extended their lead still further when Muller muscled his way ahead of Lenglet to force in from close range from Joshua Kimmich’s low cross.

Suarez brought a slight touch of respectability to proceedings when he pulled one back with a smart finish in ther 57th minute.

But that just stung Bayern into retaliation as Alphonso Davis took Nelson Semedo to the cleaners before Kimmich scored his team’s fifth.

The biggest shock of all was that 53-goal Robert Lawandowski still hadn’t got his name on the scoresheet.

But that was put right when the Polish superstar nodded in from close range from Philippe Coutinho’s cross.

And there was still time for Coutinho, the £126million Brazilian on loan from Barca, to complete his team’s utter humiliation with two more goals in the final four minutes.



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