Catalans mourn 'darkest' night
The Spanish press were on Wednesday reflecting on Barcelona's unexpected exit from the Champions League against Chelsea, pointing out the Catalans' bad luck and the "three darkest days" of coach Pep Guardiola's four-year reign.
The Madrid-based Marca revelled in Barcelona's failure, declaring: "Nightmare at the Camp Nou". Its editorial elaborated with: "Champion eliminated by 10 men of Chelsea" and "Barcelona out of La Liga and the Champions League after the three darkest days of the Guardiola era."
Real Madrid's 2-1 victory at the home of their arch rivals on Saturday night moved Jose Mourinho's side seven points clear at the top of La Liga with four games remaining.
El Mundo labelled Tuesday's result a "mortal blow at the Camp Nou" and asked: "Is this the end of the victorious cycle?"
The Barcelona-based Sport took a more sympathetic view, headlining: "Football punishes Barça".
It read: "Unjust, cruel, horrible, unmerited. Any adjective is not enough to define the incredible elimination of Barça at the hands of Chelsea. Few times has a team done so much to deserve to reach the Champions League final as that of Guardiola's. And rarely has a rival, with so little, gained that very prize. The fact is that the Blues scored three goals from three chances in 180 minutes. And they advanced to Munich."
AS read simply: "Adiós Barcelona". It continued: "An ultra-defensive Chelsea eliminated Barcelona to reach the final in Munich. The English team played with 10 men for 52 minutes. Fernando Torres made it 2-2 on the night. Messi missed a penalty and struck the post."
Barcelona have won two of the past three Champions League crowns, but El Mundo Deportivo looked back on their other unexpected defeats.
"FC Barcelona lose to Chelsea, as in Bern [1961 final against Benfica] and against Inter [2010 semi-final]," it read.
"Historical Barça has fallen in the semi-final against Chelsea in a game full of bad luck, in which Messi missed a penalty and hit the post while the English team took advantage of their two chances."
Madrid's El Pais went with the headline: "The most tragic monologue of Barcelona", and followed up with "Barça crash against the Chelsea wall on a fateful night for Messi."