Barcelona: Ousmane Dembele's miss that left Messi gutted changed the club's history forever

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Barcelona are officially a Europa League club.

The legendary Spanish side might well be ‘Mes Que Un Club’, but there’s no denying that they’re going through one of their most difficult spells in recent memory after losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich.

That convincing defeat in Bavaria meant that Barcelona would crash out of the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2000 with Europa League football awaiting them next year.

Barcelona’s alarming free fall

All in all, it brings together the culmination of a dreadful few years that has seen the club plunge into massive financial problems and sell their greatest ever player on a free transfer.

The nine-figure fees for Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele couldn’t feel any more disastrous now that the money-strapped club are drowning down in sixth place in La Liga.

So, where did it all go wrong for Barca? It’s a difficult question and one that’s ultimately impossible to answer with so many moving parts and variables, but we can still give it a good go.

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Barcelona vs Liverpool (2019)

In fact, certainly from a footballing perspective, there’s good reason to think that we can trace the Blaugrana’s rot back to the Champions League collapse against Liverpool in 2019.

While, yes, Barca also bottled their AS Roma tie the year before, it was the Liverpool defeat which showed that their mental wobbles were a trend as opposed to a one-off that can happen to anyone.

But it’s certainly feasible that the Catalans would have stayed the course against Liverpool and qualified for the Champions League final in a world where they won the first leg 4-0 instead of 3-0.

Sure, the Reds did go on to score four goals in the game at Anfield, but it’s a simple fact that the Merseysiders would have been far more rattled and downbeat if they needed to chase a 4-0 deficit.

Dembele’s heartbreaking miss

And well, that very nearly what happened because there’s good reason to think that Dembele’s stoppage-time miss in the first leg against Liverpool changed Barcelona’s modern history forever.

In a bungled chance that brought Lionel Messi to the turf and still looks painful two years later, the European giants arguably kissed goodbye to their chances of saving their alarming downfall.

So, before we get too comfortable wearing our tinfoil hat and imaging a parallel universe where Dembele absolutely buried the chance, be sure to take a look at the offending miss down below:

Oh, Ousmane, Ousmane, what happened there?!

Changed Barca’s history forever

It really is painful that the thoroughly-talented winger fired his effort straight into the hands of Alisson Becker when he had so much time and space to finish off Liverpool with a 4-0 scoreline.

Besides, even the remarkable guts, belief and passion of Jurgen Klopp’s Reds would have found it much, much harder and intimidating to come back from four goals down in the return leg.

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And surely we’d all back Barcelona to overcome Tottenham Hotspur in the final when you consider that Messi and co had dispatched them 4-2 at Wembley Stadium earlier in the tournament. 

Then, suddenly, the outlook at Barcelona looks so, so different with Dembele, Coutinho and perhaps more crucially Ernesto Valverde having helped to inspire the club to Champions League glory.

Would that have stopped the club’s economic collapse? Probably not, but there’s no denying that it would have put them in much better shape from a footballing sense as recently as two years ago.

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And with Valverde being given more time, Messi less likely to want to leave in the summer of 2020 and the mega-money signings far more invigorated, Barca could have been in a much stronger position now.

But alas, by chance, a missed chance saw Barcelona miss their chance. 

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