Gerard Pique says Barcelona have hit “rock bottom” after their Champions League hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich on Friday in Lisbon.
The Catalan giants were thrashed 8-2 in the quarter-finals at the Estadio da Luz, and Pique offered a pretty honest assessment of his team’s current status after the humiliation.
“Is it an end of an era, I’m not sure? But I know that we must accept that we have hit bottom. Not just players but, as a club, we aren’t on the right road.
“Football is a sport where change is constantly required. We must change the dynamic we are on because I believe we have just hit bottom. We have to look around, we have to trust that people will do the right things for the club.”
“We have had years of success but we haven’t won the league and we haven’t won in Europe and we have to compete. You’ve seen it on the pitch and this today is unacceptable.”
The defeat completes a painful season for Barcelona both on and off the pitch. The club changed managers in January but have still ended the season empty-handed.
Real Madrid pipped the Catalan giants to the league title in Spain, while Athletic knocked Setien’s side out of the Copa del Rey.
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Pique Willing to Depart?
Pique also called for change at the Camp Nou after the final whistle. The 33-year-old even admitted that he would be willing to leave if his departure were deemed to be best for the club.
“If I have to go in order to change things I’ll be the first to accept that. This was a horrible game … it’s a dreadful feeling. It’s shameful. Structurally we need changes at all levels.”
“I’m in pain. We all are. We can’t compete like that. It’s very, very tough to take. Nothing more is worth saying. The club needs changes. Not just the players, I don’t want to point out anyone.”
The center-back is one of several players over the age of 30 in the first-team squad at Barcelona. Jordi Alba, Arturo Vidal, Sergio Busquets, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are also headed towards the end of their careers.
Indeed Setien’s line-up against Bayern was the oldest Barcelona have ever fielded in Europe’s top competition, according to Opta.
The club do have plenty of young talent waiting in the wings. Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati have made the breakthrough into the first team this season, while youngsters Francisco Trincao, Pedri, and Matheus Fernandes have all arrived at the club this summer.
Barcelona now have plenty of thinking to do over the summer. Major change looks inevitable after a trophyless campaign, and the club could look to youth to rejuvenate their aging squad.