The end of the group stage of the Champions League 2021/2022 brought a new shock to Barcelona fans, by bidding farewell to the tournament and heading to the European League, in an unprecedented precedent for the Catalan club’s fans in the new millennium.
Barcelona’s loss (7 points) by three clean goals from Bayern Munich coincided with a win for Benfica (8 points) in the capital, Lisbon, over Dynamo Kiev with two clean goals, to accompany Bayern Munich to the official round of 16.
At Extra Sport, we decided to remind the Blaugrana fans of the last time their team participated in the European League, or rather the European Cup – as it was called -, as it brought up good memories, which they need to remember now to bring a glimmer of optimism.
reach the bottom
Barcelona fans do not like to remember the 2002/03 season, because of the sharp deterioration in the team, which resulted in the departure of Dutch coach “Louis van Gaal” in the middle of the season.
The late Croatian coach Radomir Antic took over the task at the end of the season (he is the coach who led Atletico Madrid to the league and cup double in the 1995/96 season), to leave the team empty-handed with occupying sixth place in the League, after Real Madrid (the champion), Sociedad, Deportivo La Coruna and Celta. Vigo and Valencia.
The team’s list included a number of big names, such as Marc Overmars, Luis Enrique and Patrick Kluivert, and Mandetta and Riquelme joined them to support the list that witnessed the departure of Rivaldo in the summer Mercato.
But with reaching the bottom, the Catalan club needed to make changes, especially with the arrival of “Juan Laporta” to the presidency.
Historic deal was not a priority
The arrival of “Laporta” carried the winds of change by appointing the Dutch coach, “Frank Rijkaard” at the head of the technical staff, but everyone was waiting for the expected deals, as Spain was witnessing a link between success in the elections and the arrival of big deals, after “Florentino Perez” cut the tape with the “Louis Figo” deal. .
Laporta chose to be his deal with the English winger David Beckham. Indeed, he met with the United management, and they signed an agreement requiring the English club to agree to sell Beckham to Barcelona if “Laporta” won the elections, and the sale was conditional on the Blaugrana reaching an agreement with the player’s agent.
But suddenly, “Perez” decided to move to include Beckham in the “Galacticos”, so that Barcelona turned to another deal, which is the Paris Saint-Germain player, the Brazilian “Ronaldinho”.
The beginning of the awakening
The accession of magician Ronaldinho was a milestone in Barcelona’s modern history. The player who did not get tired of spreading his magic on the field, increased Barcelona’s fan base, and was the reason for the beginning of their awakening in the new millennium.
“Ronaldinho” joined in the summer of 2003, along with “Ricardo Quaresma” and “Rafael Marquez”, to present the team an acceptable season after its success in winning the second place (behind the champion Valencia) and returning to the Champions League.
This season also witnessed Barcelona’s last appearance in the European League (the European Cup in the old name), and it was eliminated from the tournament from the round of 16 by Celtic.
The Blaugrana’s awakening culminated in winning the La Liga title in the following season 2004/05, and in the following season, the team won the League and Champions League double, and these were the happiest memories of the fans with Ronaldinho, Eto’o and the rest.