FC Barcelona: Top 11 Greatest Matches in the Pep Guardiola Era (with Video)
The Pep Guardiola era has arguably been the greatest period in FC Barcelona history. Ever since Pep took over in the summer of 2008, the club won 12 trophies out of 15 possible, more than any other manager in the club's history.
Moreover, Barcelona won by playing some of the greatest football the sport has ever seen, thus making Pep Guardiola's crop one of the greatest club sides of all time. Pep Guardiola himself became one of the greatest managers in the game.
There have been many fabulous exhibitions of total football dominance, and it's hard to pick the 10 greatest matches, but these 10 are all very, very special. If you're a Barca fan, or even just a fan of beautiful football, the videos of these amazing matches will surely bring great memories.
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Sporting Gijon 1-6 FC Barcelona (21 September 2008, La Liga Matchday 3)
Where it all began
The inclusion of this match might come as a surprise to some, although it really shouldn't. This is where it all began. Barcelona's quest to become the greatest team of this generation started on September 21, 2008, at El Molinon.
Barcelona had only got one point from their first two league matches under Pep Guardiola, and things weren't looking good at all...until this match. This convincing 6-1 win at Gijon was the first step to a truly glorious season and the very start of this glorious era in the club's history.
Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona's three greatest superstars, were all on target in a truly masterful performance.
Barcelona 4-0 Bayern Munich (8 April 2009, Champions League QF First Leg)
At the time, Laporta described it as "the best first half in the club's history," and he was certainly not far from the truth. This tie was billed as the blockbuster of the 2008/2009 Champions League quarterfinals, but Barcelona were so brilliant that the contest was essentially over after 45 minutes.
Messi (2x), Henry and Eto'o scored in a first half where Barcelona thoroughly annihilated the German giants. The second half wasn't quite as dominant, but the job had already been done; within 45 minutes, Barcelona had sealed their place in the semifinals and showed the world they were not going to be stopped!
Real Madrid CF 2-6 FC Barcelona (2 May 2009, La Liga Matchday 34)
This was an historic day for the club. After all, it's not every day that you win 6-2 at the home of your greatest rivals. Despite conceding the first goal, Barcelona utterly destroyed Real Madrid and secured the league title. Henry (2x), Messi (2x), Puyol and Piqué scored, but with four assists Xavi was the Man of the Match.
This humiliation gave birth to Real Madrid's second Galacticos project. This was not the last rout against Madrid in the Pep Guardiola era, a much worse demolition would occur one year and a half later.
After this emphatic 6-2 at the Bernabeu, everyone knew this team were destined for greatness, which has been confirmed.
Chelsea 1-1 FC Barcelona (6 May 2009, Champions League SF Second Leg)
No Barcelona will ever forget this match. In the first 90 minutes, Barcelona played some of the worst football in the Pep era and were about to be eliminated from the Champions League, but then a miracle happened.
Andrés Iniesta happened. This goal and the reaction afterwards instantly became an iconic moment in Barcelona's history.
Barcelona 4-1 Athletic Bilbao (13 May 2009, Copa Del Rey Final)
The first trophy of the Pep Guardiola had to be won in style. Athletic started well and got a goal in the eighth minute, but it was all Barcelona after that.
Yaya Touré, Lionel Messi, Bojan Krkic and Xavi Hernandez scored to give Barcelona a 4-1 win and the first of many trophies under Pep Guardiola. The performance was one to remember as well.
Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United (27 May 2009, Champions League Final)
This was the game where Barcelona secured the treble, as well as their third Champions League trophy. After scraping past Chelsea in the semis, Barcelona completely outclassed the defending champions Manchester United despite fielding a very weakened backline.
After this masterclass, everyone was finally forced to accept that Barcelona was the best team in the world, which remains the case to this very day.
Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi scored in a game where Xavi Hernandez and Andrés Iniesta shined the brightest.
FC Barcelona 2-1 Estudiantes (19 December 2009, Club World Cup Final)
Estudiantes was the only thing standing between FC Barcelona and an unprecedented sextuple of trophies in 2009. For most of the match, it looked like Barcelona were not going to make it, as Estudiantes took an early lead and held on very well.
But in the 88th minute, Pedro Rodriguez became the first player ever to score in six different competitions in the same season, heading the ball into the net and taking the match intro extra time when all seemed lost.
In extra time, the inevitable Lionel Messi scored...with his chest. In the end, Pep Guardiola cried tears of joy. He had just done in his first year what no other club or manager had ever done in the history of the game—winning six trophies in the same year.
FC Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal FC (6 April 2010, Champions League QF Second Leg)
Who would have thought Arsenal would be associated with such an historical moment?
This was the match where all possible discussions over who the most talented player of this generation is were definitely put to bed. After this match, Lionel Messi was no longer compared to his contemporaries but to the likes of Pelé and Maradona.
The little Argentine scored four goals in one of the most fantastic individual performances in football history. This match will never be forgotten, it will forever be one of the career highlights of one of the greatest players in football history.
Oh and this match also took Barcelona to the Champions League semifinals for the third consecutive year.
Real Madrid CF 0-2 FC Barcelona (27 April 2011, Champions League SF First Leg)
Barcelona had just lost the Copa del Rey final, the team was tired and affected by injuries. Mourinho's smear campaign seemed to be taking its toll and Barcelona were considered underdogs in this tie. In the day before the match, Guardiola famously claimed that Mourinho was the press conference champions but that he'd speak on the pitch. And boy did he speak.
Lionel Messi had another unforgettable performance, scoring the two goals of a somewhat ugly match. The second goal is surely one of the best in Champions League history. This is one of the greatest victories of the Guardiola era.
In the end, Mourinho had no answers to Barcelona's domination...literally. All he could do was ask "why?" (Por qué?).
FC Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United (28 May 2011, Champions League Final)
Winning a second Champions League title was vital to further cement this side's status as one of the best the game has ever seen. After beating Real Madrid in the semifinals, another tough opponent awaited Barcelona in the final, English champions Manchester United. But Barcelona were more than up to the challenge.
In the first half, Barcelona dominated, and Pedro scored the first, but a lapse of concentration allowed Wayne Rooney to level the match. But in the second half, Barcelona didn't give United any chances.
Lionel Messi and David Villa sealed another historic triumph for FC Barcelona—the club's third Champions League title in six years and fourth overall.
FC Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid CF (29 November 2010, La Liga Matchday 13)
There have been many great matches over the past three seasons, but this one is undoubtedly the one match that defines the Pep Guardiola era. In 30 years time, this is the match people will remember when they refer to Guardiola's Barcelona. It's the match that defines an era in football, the era of Barcelona domination.
It was a performance for the ages—one that can never be repeated. Barcelona made the most expensive squad in football history with José Mourinho at the helm look no better than a pub team. It was the day where this team reached its absolute peak.
No words can describe this match; the best you can do is watch the video and relive one of the greatest nights in FC Barcelona's history.
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