So there will be no silver lining for Arsene Wenger’s farewell. No glorious final chapter in his native France.
It is Atletico Madrid who move on to the Europa League final in Lyon and it is over and out for Wenger unable to conquer Europe, his final frontier.
He may have transformed Arsenal for the 21st Century but he leaves no welcome gift for his successor. No ticket to the Champions League.
Arsene Wenger looks on after defeat in his final European match as Arsenal bossiPhone transfer software
Instead the next man will inherit a most daunting task.
Not only to shake up this squad but to do it while following one of football’s most charming frontmen.
Wenger has promoted Arsenal around the globe, with his fluent football and eloquence, helped by a constant presence in European competition.
Usually the Champions League but this time the Europa League.
It is unquestionably a competition with great demands from its tour of European outposts to the Thursday routine which intensifies just as it becomes more serious.
And yet it yields very little unless you can win it and steal into the Champions League.
For Arsenal, the goose chase has taken them to Moscow, Borisov and Belgrade in the east and Ostersunds in the north with dates in Cologne and Milan before they landed in Madrid with expectations low.
Diego Costa got the only goal of the night but it was Atletico's defence that was the difference
More than 60,000 Atletico fans turned up the noise. They banged their drums and their waved flags and they unfurled a long banner to declare with confidence how they were on course for the final in Lyon.
They believed and, in truth, Arsenal never had the look of a team that did. Not when they were in charge against 10 men in the first leg.
That was the part of the tie which really cost them.
Certainly belief was damaged from the point when Antoine Griezmann snatched the away goal at the