Barcelona's four years of Champions League misery

Barcelona is experiencing its longest Champions League drought with Lionel Messi in the team. Liverpool is its latest conqueror.

For most sides, four consecutive seasons without a Champions League trophy — or even a final - would be nothing to worry about. But most sides do not have Lionel Messi. Barcelona's latest incredible European collapse against Liverpool on Tuesday saw the team slip out of the competition once more, making this Messi's longest stretch without getting his hands on club football's most coveted silverware.
Barcelona was sensational in winning the Champions League in 2014-15, yet it has since suffered humiliation after humiliation.
That rival Real Madrid has lifted the trophy in three of those years does not help. The team has fallen short again.
We take a look at the last four miserable campaigns at Europe's top competition for Barcelona and one of the sport's greatest ever players...
Photo: AP
Defending champion Barcelona emerged from its group unbeaten and then dismantled Arsenal. But LaLiga rival Atletico Madrid proved a much tougher prospect in the last eight.
The European champion won the first leg at home, yet even that proved costly. It conceded first to Fernando Torres and was only able to recover the scoreline to 2-1 after the Atleti star's red card. A pair of Antoine Griezmann goals in Madrid sent Messi and Co out.
Photo: AP
Determined to wrestle its crown back from rival Madrid, Barca came through a potentially tricky group ahead of Manchester City. Paris Saint-Germain was up next and it appeared the La Liga side would crash out early until a sensational fightback — inspired by Neymar — saw the team through 6-5 on aggregate in a scarcely believable finish at Camp Nou.
Yet all that hard work was for nothing as Barca was subsequently outclassed by eventual finalist Juventus. Paulo Dybala grabbed a first-half brace in a 3-0 home win in Turin, before the Bianconeri stifled Messi in trademark fashion back at Camp Nou.
Photo: Reuters
Now without Neymar, Barca bounced back by beating Juve in the group stages to top its pool. That set up a seemingly kind draw against an out-of-sorts Chelsea and then... Roma.
Ernesto Valverde's men raced to a 4-1 win in Catalonia, but Edin Dzeko's late away goal would prove crucial. The Giallorossi were patient back in Rome and scored three times without reply to advance on away goals in one of the most extraordinary upsets in Champions League history.
Photo: AP
Messi and Barca came out fighting this season and were boosted by Madrid's poor form. A difficult group was traversed with a minimum of fuss, before a late show in the last 16 saw off Lyon. Manchester United was no match for the La Liga champion in the quarterfinals.
And the Blaugrana looked to be heading back to the big time — perhaps for a Johan Cruyff final against Ajax — after beating Liverpool 3-0 at home. Surely it could not happen again? But it did. The Reds, missing Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, won 4-0 on Tuesday to pile more misery on one of European football's most decorated clubs.