Some things in life have a discomforting effect on you. Like being witness to a heinous crime and doing nothing about it, watching Barcelona get beaten by Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening was uncomfortable.

With their European dominance of the past five years, to see them get taken apart in that manner was like being a child and seeing your dad get beaten up.

In 90 brutal minutes, the invincibility and awe that you saw your heroes through the lens of was smashed beyond all repair.

Nothing worked for the Catalans: slow, plodding and uninspired, they were unrecognisable to the teams of Pep Guardiola. Gone was the relentless pressing, the interchanging of positions and, seemingly, the will to battle Bayern.

Pardon the cliché but, simply put, Bayern Munich wanted it more.

This looked symbolic of so much more than a defeat for Barcelona.

Admittedly, while one result doesn’t signal the end of this era for Barcelona, the last three months in total might well have. The defeat against Milan was forewarning for the side, as finally a team came up against them with a clear game-plan that they executed perfectly.

They may have lost the tie overall, but they provided a framework for other sides to utilise.

Real Madrid took this on next and beat Barcelona twice in a matter of days, before Paris Saint Germain came within 20 minutes of eliminating Barcelona from the Champions League before they went to the well of Lionel Messi.

And then came Bayern’s dismantling of Tito Vilanova’s side.

Again and again and again Bayern tackled and chased, punishing Barcelona like nobody has before. Not only did they have their own game-plan, they imposed their will on the Catalans, running roughshod over them like they were just an annoyance. Like they were the Barcelona of Guardiola. And like the 5-0 over Real Madrid did for Barcelona, this looked like the changing of the guard.

Bayern didn’t just take the torch from them, they battered them and ripped it from Barcelona’s limp body.

We may well be in the midst of watching the end of an era, so while it’s still here, take a minute to remember it. They elevated football to art, and it was a pleasure to watch.

The grace, the poise, the skill and the goals. So many wonderful goals. Watch Andres Iniesta run rings around defenders. Watch Xavi pick out the impossible pass. Just watch Messi. And hope that this is a troubled period, not the end of an era.

 

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