Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
The case for Barcelona, the best ever
by Paul Kennedy, May 28th, 2009 11:10AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Is Barcelona the greatest club ever? Real Madrid, winner of its fifth straight European Cup with a 7-3 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960, is considered the greatest club ever, but that was another era. Playing without three starters and using two other starters out of position, Barcelona made Manchester United -- the defending champion and winner of the English Premier League -- look quite ordinary with a 2-0 win in Wednesday's final.

After an opening 10 minutes dominated by United, it was all Barcelona, beginning with the first goal when Andres Iniesta put through Samuel Eto'o in from the right wing. Lionel Messi finished United off with a delicate header to the far post off a perfectly flighted ball from Xavi.

Much has been made of the Barcelona attack that has scored 153 goals this season -- with one La Liga game to play. Messi and Eto'o lead the way with 38 and 33 goals, respectively. But much of the credit for Barcelona's success -- indeed, what makes it so unique -- must go to its midfield.

In the all-action modern game, never have two midfielders dominated with such skill as Iniesta and Xavi, both only 5-foot-7 and both products of the Barcelona youth system, along with 20-year-old Sergio Busquets, the third member of the Barca midfield.

The great clubs of the European Cup have been dynasties beginning with Real Madrid (winner in 1956-60) and including Ajax (1971-73), Bayern Munich (1974-76) and Liverpool (1977-78, 1981 and 1984) and AC Milan (1989-90 and 1994).

Since Milan's back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990, no team has repeated. Since the competition was changed in 1997 to the current format stacking the competition in favor of teams from Europe's big leagues, only two teams have reached the final two years in a row -- Valencia, the loser in 2000 and 2001 and now Manchester United.

Until Wednesday's game, the most dominating performance of the last 20 years was Milan's 4-0 win over Barcelona in 1994, though that Milan team was not in the class of the Milan teams of a few years earlier with Dutchmen Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard and a host of Italian internationals.

But none of the Milan teams had the season that Barcelona has had, nor did they face the competition that Barcelona beat -- German champion Bayern Munich, which it lit up in the quarterfinals, Chelsea, which was within a minute of eliminating it in the semifinals, and Manchester United, which was left to settle for three championships in 2008-09.

For year-long dominance at home and in Europe, for the competition it faced and for the manner of its success, it's hard to match Barcelona '09 as the best ever.

May 27 in Rome
Barcelona 2 Manchester United 0. Goals: Eto'o 10, Messi 70.
Barcelona -- Valdes, Puyol, Yaya Toure, Gerard Pique, Silvinho, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta (Pedro 90+3), Messi, Eto'o, Henry (Keita 72)
Manchester United -- van der Sar, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Park Ji-sung (Berbatov 66), Carrick, Anderson (Tevez 46), Giggs (Scholes 75), Cristiano Ronaldo, Rooney.
Referee: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland).
Att.: 62,467.

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
MLS Trade Central: Thursday's deals    
Sporting Kansas City has signed 25-year-old Hungarian international forward Krisztian Nemeth from Dutch cub Roda JC  ...
What They're Saying: Michael Garcia    
"It is the lack of leadership on these issues within FIFA that leads me to conclude ...
Video Pick: Player loses his wig!    
The 19-year-old defender Baily Cargill was one of the top rated players for second division Bournemouth ...
MLS Trade Central: Wednesday's deals    
MLS and Chivas de Guadalajara reached an agreement regarding Mexican star Erick "Cubo" Torres, who played ...
NASL will open 2015 spring season on April 4    
The North American Soccer League will open its fifth season with the first week of the ...
Las Vegas gets its soccer stadium, too    
It isn't every day that two cities pass measures to build soccer stadiums. Hours after the ...
U.S. Abroad: Midweek Hot (and Cold) List    
John Brooks scored his first goal of the Bundesliga season for Hertha Berlin to open the ...
Road to Vancouver: More to Brazil than Marta    
Marta, whose magnificent performance powered Brazil past the USA Sunday at the Torneio Internacional da Brasilia, ...
TV Report: Fox plans unprecedented coverage    
The 2015 Women's World Cup will receive unprecedented coverage on Fox as it will air 16 ...
Klinsmann red-carded in starring role against Germany    
Jonathan Klinsmann's first international match against Germany, the country his father, Jurgen, played for and coached, ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives