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Messi, Valverde under attack in Spain

Messi, Valverde under attack in Spain

'It was a very big disappointment for the season we have had so far'.

Messi was a crucial component in almost all of those triumphs for Barcelona, but the playmaker performed below expectations in the team's recent Champions League failures.

Barcelona surrendered a 4-1 first leg advantage to lose 3-0 in Rome and crash out on away goals, but as well as blaming Valverde's tactics, fingers were pointed at an off-colour Messi. The Champions League suddenly has become a tough challenge for Barcelona.

Andres Iniesta has said that exiting the Champions League to Roma "hurts even more" as it could be his final European match for Barcelona.

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Barcelona have failed to progress beyond the last eight of Europe's elite tournament in the last three years, after having claimed the trophy four times in the 10 years before that.

Valverde was also harangued for his failure to react to Roma's dominance after they took an early lead through Edin Dzeko, before Daniele de Rossi's penalty and a late Kostas Manolas header.

"All we can do is apologize to our fans for the way we lost", Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets said. "We will give our best for two competitions that remain".

Indeed, one of the record breakers himself, Andres Iniesta, has also conceded the fact that this ignomious defeat could realistically represent his last showing in the competition, alluding to the possibility that his tenure at the club could be coming to a close, despite his life-long contract.

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"We never felt comfortable in the game because Roma played very well and we couldn't get our own game going", he said at his post-match press conference.

"We still have important objectives ahead of us, but to win any trophy is hard", the Barca coach told his postmatch news conference.

Ernesto Valverde's side then travel to Celta Vigo in midweek as they look to wrap up the title, and play Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final on April 21.

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