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Barcelona locker room puzzled about pessimism over team’s chances in the Champions League



Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

Rolling the clock back a few years, Barcelona were one of the perennial favourites in the UEFA Champions League. The Catalans may not have gone all the way year after year, but their participation deep into the event was guaranteed.

The past few years, on that front, came as a massive shock. For two seasons in a row, Barcelona failed to make it out of the group stages and have now made it to the Round of 16 for the first time since the 2020-21 campaign.

Puzzled dressing room

Considering the team’s recent rut and poor history in the Champions League as a whole, it is not surprising that many do not consider them favourites in the event.

Rome, Anfield and Lisbon aside, their unconvincing displays this season have a major role to play in the generation of such a notion.

According to reports from SPORT, however, the dressing room does not understand the pessimism on the topic. “Why don’t you believe in us?,” is the message from the dressing room when asked about the team’s chances in the UCL, for the Blaugranas see no reason to belittle their chances.

Unlike La Liga where they sit eight points behind Real Madrid, the UEFA Champions League still has all contenders on a level platform.

The Catalans, just like any other team in the event, are just three two-legged ties away from the final, and history is a testament that form does not play a role in the UCL.

The perfect combination

The optimism in the Catalan dressing room is not surprising, for players like Robert Lewandowski, Ilkay Gundogan and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen have all gone on to win the title and know what it takes.

That, coupled with the exuberance and never-dying flame in youngsters like Lamine Yamal, Pau Cubarsi and Marc Guiu therefore builds up an optimistic environment about the team’s chances.

They lock horns with Napoli later this week in the first leg of the Round of 16 and are the favourites to advance purely based on form. A major part of how deep the team traverses will depend on the draw, but there is no reason to be entirely pessimistic.

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