FC Barcelona hosted their must-win Champions League match against Dynamo Kyiv at the Camp Nou on Wednesday. It was a crucial fixture to get the club back in with a chance to make it out of the group stage, but fans did not appear to be too interested in watching live. The sparse crowd at the Camp Nou was a depressing sight to behold in what should have been a glorious evening of European football.
The Culers can't be blamed for the lukewarm approach to the competition though, considering the fact that Barcelona came into the match while sitting at the bottom of Group E. It may be remembered that they lost rather badly in their opening two matches of the UCL season, losing 3-0 in both matches.
Their La Liga results are nothing to write home about either, but it's a shame that fans are not coming out to fully support the club during live matches. Of course, there is still the looming coronavirus pandemic which poses risks, but fans all across Europe have shown that even the dangers and restrictions can't stop them from coming out to fill stands.
Incidentally, the Catalan government had recently allowed sports venues to operate at full capacity, meaning the Camp Nou could have potentially sold out. Instead, the seats were only peppered with a devoted few.
The Camp Nou has a seating capacity of 99,354. Of those, only 45,968 seats were occupied on Wednesday, just about half of the total capacity. Several blocks of seating were visibly sparse, and the club management will surely find this to be a worrying sight.
Barcelona had been pushing to allow fans back in the stands in order to boost revenue, but even with restrictions lifted, ticket sales have been comparatively low. The true test will come on Sunday, when Real Madrid visit for El Clasico. The match between the two bitter rivals is always notoriously sold out, and it remains to be seen if the same will happen this time around.
This will be the first El Clasico in the post-Messi era, and his absence will surely affect sales. The victory against Kiev will have lifted the mood, and fans may finally get up and make the trip down to the stadium.