Barca: The Greatest Club Side Ever?
From the magic of Messi to the guile of Xavi to the cunning of Andres Iniesta, Barcelona have probably the best attacking unit in the history of European club football, but are they the best club side ever?
In 2009, the Blaugrana won a historic six trophies - La Liga, Champions League, Copa Del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup and the World Club Championship - and in each of those competitions they never strayed from their ethos of playing the game the right way.
La Masia - Barca's youth academy has played a massive roll in the success of the current Barcelona team.
The youth set up is quite simple - they search all over Spain and the rest of the World for the best youngsters and then teach them the Barca philosophy - which is possession football, control and that the team is more important than the individual.
Last weekend the Masia graduates Xavi, Messi, Iniesta, Busquets, Pique, Puyol and Pedro all played their part in Barcelona's 2-0 victory over Real Madrid - who spent over €250 million last summer to compete with the Catalans.
The 2-0 victory over Los Blancos has forced bookies williamhill.com to slash Barca's price to defend their La Liga crown from 1.80 to 1.20. Personally, I think they should be a lot shorter.
The bookies also make them 2.00 to retain their Champions League title, and on the evidence of their performances against Arsenal - it's hard to see anyone stopping them - even the self proclaimed 'Special One' - Jose Mourinho.
Some people compare this team to Johan Cryuff's Dream Team. The latest one to do so was a member of the 'Dream Team' Ronald Koeman who said "The Dream Team was also a team of friends and honest people. It was different, because at that time we had only three foreigners. Today, all teams have a lot of foreigners, except for Barcelona, who can have a starting lineup with seven or eight players from Catalunya. This factor of having so many players reared in La Masia is what gives it a distinctive character from all their rivals. Plus they play beautiful football."
Pep Guardiola's team are a joy to watch and I've never seen a better team than the current Barcelona team. Cryuff's team was called the 'Dream Team', but Pep's team should be called 'the Untouchables'!
Who was better than the current Barca team?
REAL MADRID 1955-60 - They won the European Cup five times.
SANTOS 1962-3 - Pele's club side won the Intercontinental Cup twice.
AJAX 1970-73 - They won the European Cup three times, and are thought to be the first team to play total football
LIVERPOOL 1977-1978 - Won the European Cup in successive years.
AC MILAN 1988-92 They were the last side to successfully defend the European Cup.
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