It was not enough for Barcelona to consign the Premier League, along with the rest of the European game, to the margins of the extravagant ball they staged on a spring night at Wembley.
Now they treat the man who used to be the crown jewel of Arsenal, Cesc Fabregas , as an optional extra, a nice, sparkling little item to have lying around on the dressing room table.
Barça's admission that while their native son is considered a potentially valuable asset he still lags some way behind Udinese striker Alexis Sanchez (above) as their No 1 target is doubtless no more than an honest assessment of their strategic priorities.
Still, though, it must hurt not only Arsène Wenger and the Arsenal faithful who down the years have imagined the day when he would carry them back to some of the old creative certainties.
Also damaged, surely, is the idea that the failures of English football last season, when it fell so far below the level of power and menace it had so long assigned to itself, can be quickly repaired when the new season kicks off in less than a month.
Who, really, can we see storming the high ground Barcelona claimed so emphatically?
Chelsea under the zealous – or given some of his early pronouncements, maybe naïve – leadership of wonder boy coach Andre Villas-Boas? You wouldn't want to invest the mortgage, would you, however hard he bangs on about his duty to Roman Abramovich to deliver the Champions League title that proved beyond Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and even the resourceful Guus Hiddink. Not when the entire new trouble-shooting force after last season's miserable decline looks likely to be no broader than the brilliantly gifted but not overpowering Luka Modric and the Anderlecht tyro Romelu Lukaku.
Manchester United, who were so easily dismantled by Barça at Wembley, have made big-money investments in David de Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young but the word is that they are unprepared to meet the pay demands of Wesley Sneijder, the one player on their wish list who had proved that he could deliver at the highest level in midfield – the place where United were ultimately so profoundly exposed by the sublime axis of Xavi, Iniesta and Messi.
This leaves the blockbusting possibility that Manchester City will finally jettison their talented but also tedious ingrate Carlos Tevez and bring in Diego Maradona's son-in-law Sergio Aguero and maybe Sneijder. This has the whiff of serious business.
However, in a summer of brilliant sport it cannot be said that the English pre-dinner football cocktail has had the taste buds standing on ends.
This time last summer there was every reason to believe that Chelsea would march on beyond the formidable levels achieved in Ancelotti's immediate annexation of the League and Cup double. Now, after a season of ultimate misadventure, we have the upwardly mobile Villas-Boas telling us of the inevitability of that European triumph.
However, his plan to make Chelsea "football untouchables" would seem to need quite a bit more youthful and outstandingly gifted flesh on its bones. His methods are apparently inspiring rather more enthusiasm among senior players at Stamford Bridge these days than when he, as Jose Mourinho's youthful scout of opposition, besieged them with videos and dossiers.
Of course, Carlo is dead, long live Andre. It is, like quite a bit else in English football this summer, perhaps not the most thrilling of battle cries. But then, who knows, maybe there is a little revolution in the air. Perhaps if Cesc Fabregas finally says Adios, it will not be just another reason to sigh. It is, at least, a pretty thought.Reuse content