Manchester United suffers a mighty fall after the banging of Champions League in Barcelona

If you wanted to be cruel, there are a number of images available that illustrate how miserable an evening this was for Manchester United.

Lionel Messi sat laughing at the corner flag after the rings were thrown around three United players by a playground of an annoyed Scott McTominay.

David de Gea tries to hold a soft Messi, shot like a child trying to catch a rabbit. Empty United & # 39; s away-end with 10 minutes to go. Paul Pogba falls over.

Manchester United is still looking for their true identity after their exit in the Champions League

Manchester United is still looking for their true identity after their exit in the Champions League

Lionel Messi hit a & # 39; first-half double & # 39; for Barcelona when they threw out Manchester United

Lionel Messi hit a & # 39; first-half double & # 39; for Barcelona when they threw out Manchester United

Lionel Messi hit a & # 39; first-half double & # 39; for Barcelona when they threw out Manchester United

Paul Pogba endured a frustrating midfield night for Manchester United at the Nou Camp

Paul Pogba endured a frustrating midfield night for Manchester United at the Nou Camp

Paul Pogba endured a frustrating midfield night for Manchester United at the Nou Camp

Each would reflect the discomfort, the embarrassment and ultimately the pointlessness of this evening from a unified point of view.

If we wanted to know exactly how far United has fallen since the years when nothing was afraid of it – if someone wasn't paying attention – then there was the evidence.

Perhaps it is better and just as instructive to focus on the opening goal of Messi. Like everything that followed, it was a goal that this tie formed and ultimately arranged.

Poor by his standards in the first leg at Old Trafford last week, Messi seemed to be creating the true image of himself here. The 31-year-old was again recognizable and never more than in the timing of his first real intervention.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a lot to do when he has to bring his club back to the higher regions

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a lot to do when he has to bring his club back to the higher regions

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a lot to do when he has to bring his club back to the higher regions

Barcelona, ​​strange as it sounds now, had been vulnerable early in the game. United had found space to explore. They had hit the bar and had another good chance.

So the goal of Messi was important and it felt that then. It didn't look real either. The way Messi had shaken Ashley Young's attention (twice) and when Phil Jones walked across the top of the penalty area when he walked from right to left, but when he looked to release his shot, he seemed about half a have foot to focus on.

De Gea had his good sides and he should have estimated his chances. The upper corner would give Messi the chance to hit, but instead he went down and drew a stunning shot with the left foot away from De Gea and then behind his right hand and towards the goal.

The Argentinian produced another master class to help Barcelona advance

The Argentinian produced another master class to help Barcelona advance

The Argentinian produced another master class to help Barcelona advance

It was one from the Messi showreel, a classic. We've all seen it before, but that doesn't diminish the quality or impact of the moment. For United, it must have felt like a door slapped in their face, the scorer running away to applause with the key that had been put in his sock.

Strictly speaking, the United & # 39; s task did not change. The team of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed two goals to win before the game started and – due to the road goal – that remained the case. But the reality is that the goal has changed everything.

It changed the mood in the stadium, the mood between the two sets of players and it changed the momentum of the game. United used to feel that they were making some progress. Barcelona was skittish. But this served as a reminder of Barcelona's wealth. Just as a boxer landed a lonely punch on the jaw of a challenger, it put United back on their heels and they simply never restored their balance.

What we saw here told us a lot about United and not much of it was good. The last time they played at the Nou Camp was on their way to winning the competition in 2008. They pulled and Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty.

That team had Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez in it. Ryan Giggs was on the couch and Nemanja Vidic was sick. That team drove in hope and it was no wonder.

Marcus Rashford (L) and Jesse Lingard are match winners but have a greenhorn look

Marcus Rashford (L) and Jesse Lingard are match winners but have a greenhorn look

Marcus Rashford (L) and Jesse Lingard are match winners but have a greenhorn look

The current version has only been driving around Europe this season and was hunting for miracles. Remarkably, they found two, winning at Juventus and PSG. But those were nights when the fortune was in their corner.

To tell more is the fact that United scored the Champions League home all season – Marouane Fellaini at the last minute at Young Boys – and prior to Alexis Sanchez & Dive's death cup collected two shots on goal here in 180 minutes of football against a team from Barcelona that does not always look like it knows how to defend.

So yes, the truths of the modern United have been uncovered here, but that should still not detract from a man's enduring ability to run, bend and shape a football game to his own idea of ​​where he feels that it should go well.

Messi's second goal was a disaster for De Gea, a goalkeeper who is no longer a stranger to incidental mistakes.

David de Gea left a weak Lionel Messi shot, but also delivered a stunning, blank save

But would it have come without the first? Maybe not. It finally came on the reverse of the shift in pattern and rhythm of the game that was fully set by the opening masterpiece of the Barcelona captain.

Philippe Coutinho's second goal was just as special, but it served as a decoration and that is where the crucial difference lies.

Coutinho and Luis Suarez bear their own threat, but when Barcelona wins the Champions League for the first time in four years, Messi feels it is the heart of it.

If Liverpool is in the semi-finals for them this year, the Merseyside club must be optimistic. There are flaws in this Barcelona team. However, one thing about them remains exactly the same, and it comes with the number ten.