Before Bayern Munich’s Camp Nou parade even started, Frenkie de Jong and his Barcelona teammates accepted their Champions League fate.
Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong played the whole 90 minutes as they were destroyed 3-0 by Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou, ending their chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
Even if the Blaugrana defied the odds against Bayern, it would mean little after Inter Milan’s 4-0 rout of Viktoria Plzen in the early games on Wednesday night.
Their chances of making it to the next round were in the hands of Group C’s underdogs after earning one point in two games against the Italians.
Perhaps Xavi’s team would have put up some sort of fight against Bayern if Plzen had obtained an unexpected outcome.
But even that seems unrealistic following a 3-0 victory that neatly captured the two European heavyweights’ current situation.
The five-time European champions’ run in the premier competition is thus over before the first door on the advent calendar is unlocked for the second straight season.
Of course, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. Following a time of financial difficulties, they staked their future on an audacious Barcelona strategy.
Many people showed up, including Jules Kounde, Raphinha, and Robert Lewandowski. They are now required to pull the necessary economic levers to prevent them from experiencing the financial hardships that are now inevitable.
However, there were obvious indications that all was not well in Catalonia, and they were most evident in the back and forth on De Jong’s future.
Xavi, the manager, frequently emphasized the value of the Dutchman, who joined from Ajax three years earlier.
However, there was a deliberate attempt made to facilitate his leaving, so the sounds coming from the Camp Nou boardroom were considerably different.
De Jong reportedly rejected the transfer after the two teams reached an understanding worth around £56 million.
He was widely thought to be the highest-earning member of Barca’s first-team roster and to be due up to €17 million in back payments through deferrals and amortizations, which led to the club’s desire to reach an agreement.
De Jong chose to remain put despite both clubs’ efforts to smooth the way for a high-profile transfer. That has a lot to do with United’s dramatic fall from grace in the European game.
The player who Ten Hag considers to be essential to his Old Trafford reconstruction will undoubtedly come up again when it comes to United.
However, where there were obstacles a few weeks ago, the movement today appears to be going far more sideways than backwards.
And when talks reopen, the roles may be inverted, unlike during the summer, when United’s desperation was obvious to anyone paying attention.
Altogether, United is put in a considerably stronger position at the negotiating table, making De Jong’s justifications for turning down the offer the first time seem somewhat tenuous in light of Barcelona’s own bungled and public downfall.