"Més que un club" is the motto of FC Barcelona, the self-appointed guardians of that rather tiresome cliche "the beautiful game". Roughly translated as "more than a club", the phrase is described by the club's official website as being "open-ended in meaning".
It goes on thus: "It is perhaps this flexibility that makes it so appropriate for defining the complexities of FC Barcelona’s identity, a club that competes in a sporting sense on the field of play."
Yet Wednesday night's exit at the hands of Inter Milan showed that they lose just like any old modern football team - very badly indeed. And, while Jose Mourinho is a manager accused of seeking victory by any means necessary, Barcelona were the team whose Machiavellian methods drew the most truck and looked somewhat lacking in "a sporting sense".
The hype machine has departed Catalonia with Mourinho, just as he likes it, while Pep Guardiola's team have become the latest team to fall in the hunt for the defence of a European Cup, with AC Milan's twin achievements of 1989 and 1990 finding time has hardened their status as one of history's greatest club teams. Unlike Milan in 1995, Ajax in 1996, Juventus in 1997, or Manchester United in 2009, they were not even granted the chance to revisit the final, in Madrid of all places. No, home was where the fire was extinguished and with it came the burns damage of their high-concept glory game being tarnished by the petulant behaviour of their players and officials.
Item 1 in the case for the prosecution can only come with the play-acting peek-a-boo Sergio Busquets, whose antics, aided by a massed mime act of imaginary cards that resembled a medieval market square sideshow, were nothing less than pathetic in getting a former team-mate in Thiago Motta, a Champions League winner with Barca in 2006, dismissed and then banned from the final. Very poor form indeed.
Item 2 must mention the party-pooping attempts to dim Inter's sense of righteous glory. Victor Valdes' childish bouncer act on a possessed Jose were met with a brief flicker of anger from the Portuguese, only for the smugness to soon return as he made his way to remind the Barca fans that their one-time interpreter was number one on the night, and, in his opinion, on any other night too. The advice here, offered by everyone's mum, is "don't rise to it". Barcelona, to their shame, did rise to it.
Item 3 comes with the Camp Nou groundsman, whose switching on of the sprinklers as Inter cavorted and caterwauled in celebratory abandon was a strictly small-time gesture once employed at a post-Jose Chelsea. That time, in May 2008, caused a full-scale riot when Patrice Evra took on a Stamford Bridge groundsman and, in seeking to dampen the high spirits, a potential incendiary was placed again on Wednesday. The question of whether the waterworks would have been turned on had Barcelona clawed through need not even be answered.
Item 4 comes with a series of further acts of simulation in attempts to further fool an already-befuddled Belgian ref. Dani Alves, as ever, was at the forefront here. Mitigation must come here in the display of Inter's Maicon. His defensive display showed why he is preferred by Dunga for their national team, but he made some meal of a supposed shoulder injury. Yet while most would expect such behaviour from an Italian team coached by Mourinho, Barca's decorum was no better and, in the most notable cases, far worse.
Guardiola's post-match response to Mourinho's for-once justified triumphalism was to suggest that "any team can choose how they play". It still implied an assumed purity of his own team's play but also showed an admirable appreciation of the realities of the game, stopping short of Wenger-esque histrionic criticism of an alternative footballing philosophy.
So, a European crown and moral high ground surrendered in a sorry night for Barcelona, a club who, it is also reported, have been loath to share the wealth of their TV revenues with less well-heeled clubs in Spain's Primera Liga. They say they are "diametrically opposed" to such an idea, which may serve to some as a puncturing of a belief that this is a club run on quasi-socialist principles.
For the last 18 months, Barcelona have thrilled us all with the quality of their play with Lionel Messi inviting comparisons with history's best. Yet the light has dimmed on both - with Messi suffering another off-night to follow a recent run of them - for the moment at least. Aspirations of moral and philosophical superiority have also been lost through the actions of Busquets and others. Perhaps it is time for the pretentions to be put aside and Barca to accept that they are just a football team like any other.