Just as Barcelona looked on course to claim the treble this season, disastrous evenings in Liverpool and Seville mean that it will be a summer of serious reflection at the Camp Nou.
Various points of the season and the performances of certain personnel proved costly to Barcelona’s ambitions.
A coach with no solutions
Ernesto Valverde has, in the last month, become the main target of criticism at Barcelona, questioning a number of his decisions that led to the defeats to Liverpool and Valencia.
From questionable line-ups and an inability to make decisive substitutions at key moments of games.
President Josep Maria Bartomeu and captain Leo Messi have backed him but the jury is very much out on the Spanish boss.
Lack of character
That lack of pride that makes the team appear lost in the face of adversity or in pressing moments is something that can be looked at as a serious cause for Barcelona’s demise.
That’s the only way the Liverpool debacle can be explained and is a leading reason as to why a player like Arturo Vidal cannot be criticised.
Messi is the only plan
With Phillipe Coutinho inexistent, Luis Suarez recovering from surgery and Ousmane Dembele out, nobody has provided adequate support for Leo Messi.
Malcom appears more willing than capable, while Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic seem to be past their best.
Messi has looked a solitary figure in the season run-in, proving the team cannot afford to depend only on the Argentine great.
The Coutinho problem
From the club’s most expensive ever signing to one of the worst performers amongst the whole squad.
He has not risen to the occasion in any of Barcelona’s big moments this season, apart from a late penalty in the Copa del Rey last-16 first leg at Levante.
Some serious contemplations over his future will have to be made by those upstairs at the Camp Nou.
Busquets and Rakitic have been far from their typically high levels this season, which has not gone unnoticed.
The signing of Frenkie de Jong now seems to be a very necessary one, but Valverde will still have a problem if the Croatian departs, with his future still in doubt.
Suarez needs backup
Luis Suarez revived the superb form he enjoyed in his earlier Barcelona years this season but the absence of any capable backup striker has left the club over-dependent on a player who had been carrying an injury for large parts of the season as well as having lost his burst of pace.
Some of Barcelona’s signings have been bewildering. Kevin-Prince Boateng was brought in during the winter transfer window, supposedly to provide cover for Suarez but, with the Uruguayan striker injured for the Copa del Rey final, the Ghanaian watched from the stands.
Jeison Murillo was signed as defensive backup but rarely featured while Malcom, other than a few glimpses of quality, offered very little.