Three Years Later: May 2–6, 2009: The Greatest Week in FC Barcelona History
What a week it was!
Two great games.
The greatest team in FC Barcelona history.
May 2 – 6, 2009 was one of, if not, the greatest week's in FC Barcelona history—and it didn’t even involve winning the UEFA Champions League or clinching La Liga title.
In his first season as manager, Pep Guardiola led his team to one of the best seasons in La Liga history. A record-setting goal marked by the team, and a style referred by the media as “tiki-taka” dominated opponents and began a football revolution.
Three years later, let’s look back at the two games and one week that still lives in the hearts of all Culés.
May 2, 2009: FC BARCELONA – 6, Real Madrid – 2
May 2, 2009: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain.
FC BARCELONA – 6, Real Madrid – 2
The 2008-09 Liga season was going fairly smoothly for Barcelona heading to their matchup with Real Madrid at the Bernabéu.
La Liga was going smoothly overall, but Barcelona was just coming off two tough game days before El Clásico. El Blaugrana was held to a 2-2 draw against Valencia one week earlier in La Liga, and a scoreless draw with Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League four days prior to the Real game.
With a four-point lead in La Liga, Pep’s men came to the Bernabéu looking to essentially end La Liga with a win.
The game got off to a bad start as Gonzalo Higuain scored a header and gave the home team a 1-0 lead. Thierry Henry tied the game after Sergio Ramos couldn’t reach the ball he dove for, which freed Henry to put it past Iker Casillas.
Carles Puyol scored a header to make it 2-1 in the 20th minute. Lionel Messi made it 3-1 after Xavi stole the ball from Lass Diara and Messi slid it past Casillas.
Real Madrid got it back to a one-goal deficit as Ramos headed in an Arjen Robben free kick 11 minutes into the second half. But Henry came back just two minutes later, as the Frenchman stayed onside, took the pass from Xavi, and put it past a charging Casillas to make it 4-2.
It still wasn’t over.
Messi made it 5-2, as Xavi found Leo all alone to get his brace on the night. Finally, the destruction of Real Madrid ended with Gerard Piqué getting goal number six in the 38th minute.
Two of the great images of the game were seeing the Madridistas getting up and leaving the Bernabéu and then FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta having a smirk on his face as he sits by then Real Madrid president Vicente Boluda.
The win essentially clinched La Liga. Three years later, only the 5-0 Clásico of 2010 tops the 6-2 win as the most memorable win against Real Madrid in recent history.
As a Culé, I knew my team would go into the Bernabéu and win. But I never imagined that it was going to be 6-2. I think all Barcelona fans were slightly stunned that it became that easy to win. It was a great feeling to see Barça humiliate Madrid. I was so proud of my team, as were all Culés.
A historic goleada in Clásico history.
May 6, 2009: FC BARCELONA – 1, Chelsea – 1
May 6, 2009: Stamford Bridge, London, England.
FC BARCELONA – 1, Chelsea – 1
Just days after the win at the Bernabeu and La Liga in their pocket, Barcelona looked to earn a spot in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final with a win or draw against Chelsea.
Personally, as a fan, I was very nervous the days prior to the game. While I was happy that Barcelona won La Liga, I wanted the Champions more than La Liga, to be honest with you. I knew it was going to be tough for them to win at Stamford Bridge, so my hope was that Barça tied.
The game turned out to be one of the most emotional and controversial games in football history.
The game had so many controversial calls and non-calls that I may not get to all of them. Let me say this, this is not a debate of whether Chelsea got robbed or about Tom Henning Overbo or anything like that. I understand most people believe Chelsea got robbed and I would probably feel differently about the game if I wasn’t a Barcelona fan.
This is just a summary of the game from a Culés perspective.
The game got off to a great start for Chelsea, as Michael Essien scored an amazing goal from the volley for the 1-0 lead.
Didier Drogba was in full beast mode. The Chelsea striker was continuously going after the goal and had numerous chances to end the semifinals. But to be fair, there were at least two fouls on Drogba that could have—or should have—been called penalty.
Messi did not have a great game; neither did most of the other players. Barcelona had no shots on goal through 90 minutes. The Chelsea defense was strong and Drogba and Nicolas Anelka continued to attack.
Overall, it was a very frustrating game for Culés.
It seemed like the Champions League was not meant to be, heading into stoppage time. The dream seemed over.
Then came one of the greatest moments in FC Barcelona history.
In the 90+3 minute, Dani Alves finally got a good cross into the area. John Terry headed the ball away which landed at the feet of Samuel Eto’o. Eto’o passed it to Messi who was at the top left of the box. Messi dribbled and took three defenders with him until he passed it to Andres Iniesta who—until South Africa a year later—made the biggest goal of his career past an outstretched Petr Cech.
All Culés, the city of Barcelona, and all of Catalunya screamed—some cried—in celebration.
When that ball went in, it took me about three seconds after Iniesta ran around the pitch, that I actually realized what had happened. I couldn’t believe it happened. I remember jumping up in celebration. I ran like Pep Guardiola did.
I could only imagine how the people in the city of Barcelona were going crazy. It was the greatest moment for me as a Culé.
I got text messages saying how lucky Barça was. Some texts said how Chelsea got robbed by the ref. I wasn't thinking about any of that.
All I was thinking was that this team was a team of destiny.
Barcelona went on to win the 2009 UEFA Champions League title, defeating Manchester United 2-0 in Rome.
Even though the Final against Man U is technically the most important game, it is less memorable because of the drama—and controversy—of the Chelsea game. This game felt like a championship game.
This game is tarnished to most by the controversy involved.
But for Culés, the memory, the emotions and the joy of that game will always live in our hearts.
As all Barcelona fans found out this year, football can bring us one week that our team can lose it all. That's why it is important to cherish and remember those special weeks in our favorite team's history.
Because history-making weeks are far and few.
Three years ago, FC Barcelona went through one of the toughest weeks in their history. What resulted were two of the most memorable games in the club’s history.
One game took the league crown away from your eternal rival.
The other game was the football personification of controversy, drama, agony and ecstasy.
It was the culmination of perhaps the greatest season in Barcelona history.
It was the first year of this historic Barcelona team we are witnessing play today.
It was, in my opinion, the greatest week in FC Barcelona history.
Visca el Barça!
I leave you with a video of Culés' in L'Ovella de Poblenou, Barcelona as they react to Andres Iniesta's goal against Chelsea. You may want to lower the volume as they go crazy.
Xoel, The Voice of FC Barcelona on Bleacher Report!
Follow me on Twitter:@XoelCardenas
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