Tragic news is piling up for Barcelona as they face yet another setback. That puts their chances of making it to the Club World Cup in 2025 in jeopardy.

Both Spanish teams had a lethargic UEFA Champions League mid-week. Inter beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 in the first leg of their round of 16 match. Meanwhile, Barcelona and Napoli played to a 1-1 draw.

The odds of Xavi Hernandez’s side making it to the quarterfinals are higher at this point, draw or no draw. But, their failure to beat Napoli on Wednesday, however, may have far-reaching consequences.

The outcome makes the Blaugrana’s chances of qualifying for the 2025 Club World Cup less favorable. They have to make it to the Champions League semifinals first. They must also hope Atleti don’t win on aggregate if they aim to participate in the Club World Cup.

Criteria to determine Barcelona’s participation

Teams earn spots in the international tournament based on their placement in the UEFA rankings, except for the defending champions. In fact, Atletico Madrid now outrank Barcelona, as per Mundo Deportivo.

Problematically, Xavi’s Barcelona does not appear among the top ten on this list. There will be 32 teams competing in the next FIFA Club World Cup, which will have a new structure. Organizers are attempting to improve the tournament, which will take place in the US this summer.

The three most recent Champions League winners—Chelsea, Manchester City, and Real Madrid—have already booked their place in the revamped tournament. There a prize of $109.5 million awaits the victor.

Barca must win every game in this European competition and hope Atleti doesn’t surpass them. In the race for Spain’s second spot, they lead Diego Simeone’s squad by two points (62 to 60).

They have accumulated five points for each Champions League appearance over the last four seasons, three for each victory, and one point for each tie, according to FIFA regulations, to gain that lead.

On the other hand, if each participant was awarded four points, Barça would be behind Atletico by 62-55 according to UEFA’s criteria. For a victory, they would earn two, a draw would bring them one, advancing to the round of 16, and the final would get them one.

So, If Barca fail to get out of the group stage for the second year in a row, it might be disastrous. On Sunday, however, FIFA is set to determine during a council meeting what criteria would allow the 2025 spectacular to go forward.

Big price to pay for Group Stage defeats

Mundo Deportivo also reports that Barcelona may lose out on about $6.15 million due to their two Champions League losses. Xavi Hernandez’s squad put up the effort in Group H, defeating Porto twice despite facing a formidable opponent.

What was unexpected, however, were defeats at the hands of the group’s weakest opponents, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Royal Antwerp. According to official UEFA statistics, they desperately needed the $3.07 million provided as prize money each triumph at a period of widespread financial difficulty and bankruptcy.

Photo credit: IMAGO / AFLOSPORT.