Spanish giants Barcelona might be going through a transitional period, but they couldn’t quite match Rangers and come away from Benfica unbeaten.

With debts spiralling to over £1.15bn (€1.35bn) in August, the Nou Camp club have been forced into serious downsizing, losing the likes of Leo Messi to PSG with Antoine Griezmann returning to Atletico.

SL Benfica v FC Barcelona - Group E - UEFA Champions League

Benfica striker Darwin Nunez helped down Barcelona. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

The club’s problems have been well documented – Barca are now reportedly operating with a wage budget less than Watford’s – and a hammering from Portuguese outfit Benfica might not have been so unpredictable.

But that hasn’t stopped Dutch boss Ronald Koeman from staring down the barrel of a gun as his job hangs on the line following a 3-0 dismantling by the Primeira Liga side in the Champions League.


Darwin Nunez – a player Rangers fans are very familiar with – netted a double either side of a Rafa Silva strike on what will prove a legendary night at the Estadio de Luz.

Barcelona even wound up with 10-men as centre-back Eric Garcia was sent packing with three minutes to go.

Rangers travelled to the famous stadium in Lisbon last season as part of their Europa League group stage campaign.

The Gers escaped Portugal with an admirable point but things could’ve been oh so different on the night with the match eventually ending 3-3.

Rangers were rattled early on against Jorge Jesus’ side and were down within the first minute courtesy of some horrific Filip Helander defending and a Connor Goldson OG.

But following a red card for Nicholas Otamendi after hauling down Alfredo Morelos, Rangers rallied.

By halftime the game was flipped on its head and Rangers were 2-1 up courtesy of a Diogo Goncalves own goal and a rare Glen Kamara strike.

Alfredo Morelos had Rangers fans dreaming with a third not long after the restart but that man Nunez would be introduced and obliterate the Gers defence.

The striker was involved in both second half Benfica goals as he set up Rafa Silva and split the defence for the equaliser with a fine run and finish in injury time.

Still, at least Rangers can say they went to the Stadium of Light and left unbeaten in the last 12 months – which is something that can’t be said for Barcelona.

Rangers are back in the Europa League this season and are set to face Sparta Prague on matchday two – here’s how we fancy Steven Gerrard’s side to line up.

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