Barcelona, who have changed the face of the game in recent years, were handed a footballing lesson when they were crushed 4-0 by Bayern Munich in an extraordinary Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday.
The Catalans, winners of the trophy in 2009 and 2011, had no answer to Bayern's power, speed, pressing and resolute defence as they slumped to their heaviest defeat for almost six years and matched their worst result in European competition.
The victory was so comprehensive the 68,000 crowd at the Allianz Arena may have wondered whether they were witnessing the end of an era as the all-conquering visitors were ripped apart in the second half.
Thomas Mueller was the architect, scoring the first and last goals and setting up the second for Mario Gomez as the Bavarians, already crowned Bundesliga champions, continued an astonishing season that could yet yield a treble.
"We played fantastically today," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told reporters. "I have never experienced a night like this and I have been around for quite some time.
"I think we all saw Messi was not fully fit. We have a very good chance now of reaching the final."
World Player of the Year Messi, returning from a hamstring injury, made little impact up front for Barca while midfield duo Xavi and Andres Iniesta lacked their usual cutting edge.
Some of the gloss was taken off Bayern's win however by doubts over the second and third goals.
Gomez looked marginally offside when he turned in the second after 49 minutes and Barcelona protested that midfielder Mueller blocked Jordi Alba as the defender tried to tackle Arjen Robben before the Dutchman clipped the ball into the corner 24 minutes later.
Two of the goals followed corners, exposing weaknesses in the Barca defence in the absence of the injured Carles Puyol.