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Barcelona's time at the top is over - Sacchi

Arrigo Sacchi has said that Barcelona's era as the dominant force in European football is over, proclaiming: "A king has died".

Luis Enrique's side were beaten 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League despite the presence of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Andres Iniesta in their starting line-up, and Sacchi said the current Barcelona team lacks the qualities that helped them win Europe's top competition four times between 2005 and 2015.

Barcelona are second in La Liga, a point behind Real Madrid having played two games more, and Sacchi – who was director of football at Santiago Bernabeu for a season in 2004-05 – predicted a shift in the balance of power in Spanish and European football.

"A king has died: Barcelona," Sacchi told Gazetta Dello Sport. "There is another sovereign who will impose his rule: Real Madrid.

"But there is room for others to occupy the throne. I see Juventus very well. Real Madrid is the most serious candidate for the title.

"For a long time, Barcelona has stopped being what it used to be. You no longer see the aggressive, orderly and ambitious team that we admired for 10 years, imposing a great game.

"They have given football lessons to the world. That's over."

Sacchi said that Barcelona can no longer rely on Messi to lead them to success, suggesting there were deeper problems at the club.

He said: "Even Messi is no longer able to overcome the opponent because it is the machine that does not work."