Spain lamented Thursday the comprehensive destruction of a powerless Barcelona by Bayern Munich, warning the Catalans must rebuild after their Champions League dreams were shattered in the Camp Nou.
Injured Lionel Messi's absence exposed the weaknesses of Barcelona against the German club, which won Wednesday's second leg 3-0 to deliver a humiliating 7-0 aggregate semi-final victory over the team so often touted as the greatest in the world.
"Without God there is no miracle," blared the front page headline of Barcelona-based daily Sport, above a photo of a worried Messi sitting on the bench, after Bayern tore to pieces any hopes of a dream comeback.
Coach Tito Vilanova, frequently absent as he is treated for cancer of the salivary gland, was left without ammunition, Sport said. "Tito could not find the means to create a game without Messi and did not take the slightest risk to attempt the miracle."
Arjen Robben opened the scoring for the visitors with a trademark left-foot strike just after half-time before a Gerard Pique own-goal and Thomas Mueller's header in the final 20 minutes ensured Bayern booked their place in an all-German final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on May 25.
"A great Bayern," conceded fellow Catalan sports daily Mundo Deportivo. "The Germans rolled over a broken Barca," it said. "Robben's goal put an end to even the faintest hope of a comeback."
The paper said Barcelona had been transformed into a "broken toy" in the hands of Bayern.
Madrid-based daily As said Barcelona were "grey, toothless, lifeless,with no soul".
"They came on to the pitch like a flock of sheep on the way to the slaughterhouse," the paper said.
Barcelona seemed to be at the end of an era, As commentator Santi Gimenez said.
"Barcelona has come to the end of a glorious road. It has lived the greatest epoch of of its history. If this is not the end of a cycle, it feels a lot like it," he said. Barcelona will still win the Liga this season with a nearly unassailable points lead, it will still win titles and its style of play should remain, Gimenez wrote.
"But if yesterday was a casting to find out who in the team is worthy of the future, then the moving vans will be at work in Barcelona. No-one asked Barcelona to stage a comeback after their heavy defeat in Munich, but they did expect pride. And that was conspicuous by its absence."
"The sinking", ran the headline in Marca, Spain's top-selling sports daily.
The paper recalled that Munich had suffered a 4-0 defeat to Barcelona in April 2009 but had rebuilt, urging Barcelona and Real Madrid -- both knocked out in these semifinals -- to learn the same lesson.
"Barca, Madrid and Spanish football must look in the German mirror, which has rebuilt from crushing defeat. Especially Barcelona, which is so shockingly vulnerable without Messi," Marca said.