Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Beat Barcelona and win the Champions League
I've always been quite vocal about the pleasure I take in seeing Barcelona fail. Mainly because they've been winning everything in their path in recent times and particularly because this current bunch of Barcelona fans (who only started watching football a couple of years ago it would seem) have created a widespread belief that theirs is the greatest team of all-time. I don't need to mention again how impossible is it to compare different eras (click here if you're bothered to read about that), but I will give this Barcelona team credit for one thing that isn't mentioned anywhere.
It hasn't been pointed out in the media much, but last night it occurred to me that over the past few years, the team that knocks out Barcelona always goes on to win the trophy with big ears. PSG, you know what to do.
Barcelona won the Champions League in 2006 under Frank Rijkaard with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal (feels like a century ago, doesn't it Gooners?) and in 2007 they were eliminated by Liverpool (remember that?), who themselves went all the way to the final and lost 2-1 to AC Milan. At that time Barcelona were setting the tempo in Europe with Ronaldinho, Deco and Eto'o pulling the strings, but since 2007/08, the message has become clear: if you knock out Barcelona, you will win the Champions League.
Here's how it's happened:
2007/08: knocked out by Manchester United in the semi-finals (with a Paul Scholes beauty I might add, yes, yes click), and United won it.
2008/09: Barca won the whole thing by beating Manchester United 2-0 in the final
2009/10: Jose Mourinho and his Inter Milan side beat Pep's men in the semi-final and went on to win the trophy and a historic treble.
2010/11: Barca won it again by beating Manchester United (again) 3-1 in the final at Wembley.
2011/12: Chelsea miraculously got the better of Barcelona in the semi-finals in what can only be considered as one of the most unexpected results in recent Champions League history and went on to beat Bayern Munich on penalties in the final.
PSG should be aware of this and though it's unlikely they beat the Catalans, this could be just the sort of thing they'll want to hear. As for the rest of the teams left in the competition, Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich would all fancy their chances against Messi & co if given the chance. Will Barcelona find success at Wembley again? Time will tell. First stop, Paris.