Last April, football lovers from all over the world turned their attention to Barcelona and Real Madrid and they had reasons for that. Can you imagine that they met four times in three weeks?After winning 5-0 in Camp Nou, Barca met Madrid on the second leg of clasico in La Liga match in Santiago Bernabeu, then they played against each other in Copa Del Rey Final in Mestalla Stadium, Valencia and...this was the most anticipated match. They had to kill each other in UEFA Champions League semi-final,where Madrid hosted the first leg and the second leg in Barcelona was played in the beginning of May.
We still remember that, the most anticipated game became such an anti-climax . Opinion was divided. Madrid was criticized for playing negative football and defending too much at home, while Barca was condemned for their diving and provocative action that sent off Madrid`s defender, Pepe for his intention to tackle Barca`s Dani Alves. Madrid`s coach, Jose"The Special One"Mourinho kept asking"Por que,por que,por que
?"or"why,why,why?". It seems the world turned to hate Barca for its dramatization of injuries, diving whatsoever. Mou even filed a lawsuit against Barca to UEFA,which was rejected and Mou didn`t stop there. He brought the case to Court Arbitration of Sports.
However, in the"dream final", everything changed. This was a replay of 2009 UCL Final in Olimpico Stadium, Rome,Italy, where Barcelona met Manchester United in the final, and Barca ( still with some players like Henry,Eto'o etc an Cristiano Ronaldo was still with Manchester United) won 2-0 from Eto'o and Messi`s goal. The same final was played again on May 28, but this time , the final was held in Wembley, London. Manchester United dominated for around 15 minutes before Barca took control, and gradually they started to show their beauty at pitch and make Mou eat his hat. Goals from Pedro, Messi and Villa and their strong ball possession amazed not only all of us, but also commentator and even Manchester United`s manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who is one of the longest serving manager and the most respected manager had to admit that Barca is the strongest team to defeat. United`s players, who once strongly criticized Barca`s players for diving, cheating and so on, after the defeat, admitted that Barca outclassed them. Barca won 3-1 at Wembley with no diving, cheating and controversies.
For opponents of negative football, Barca`s play is like ballet dancers: players dancing with ball at pitch, with dominant ball possession and accurate passing, thanks to Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, with the geniuses of Lionel Messi, who became UCL Competition top scorer with 12 goals and Barca is well known for its systematic youth players development. They have been together since they were kids and they play the ball by heart. And the foreign stars like Dani Alves (Brazil). Mascherano (Argentina), Eric Abidal (France) and local talent like David Villa who was transferred from Valencia last year,get along well with those who have been together since they were in junior team.
Some say that Barcelona right now is much better than"Class of 92"of Manchester United, that won a treble (Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League) in 1999 that included some well-known former stars like David Beckham,Gary Neuville and legendary players like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. Even Johan Cryuff, the Dutch legend who introduced the philosophy of beautiful football during his tenure as Barca`s coach in 1990s (during his term, Barca won its first-ever UCL trophy at Wembley by defeating Sampdoria 1-0. Barca`s current coach,Pep Guardiola was a player at that time) said that Xavi Hernandez and the gang surpasses his '92 team. But, is Barca the BEST TEAM ever?
It is impossible to say that, especially, at level club, Barca`s enemy, Real Madrid has recorded itself as the most successful club in football history: 9 Champions Leage ( the first club who won 5 consecutive UCL Trophy 1956-60). And there are some teams that will be remembered for their greatness during their golden moment: Brazil, when they won the 1970 World Cup, Ajax Amsterdam, who won European Cups between 1971 and 1973, Bayern Munich in 1974-76, Liverpool in 1977-81,Argentina in 1986 when the won the 1986World Cup despite Maradona`s hands of God` s goal, AC Milan during its golden moment in 1989-90 and Spain, during 2008-2010 when they won Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, with most Barca players won the medals (in 2010 World Cup).
Guardiola doesn`t want to compare Barca to the Ajax of Johna Cryuff, the Real Madrid of Alfredo di Stefano and the Santos of Pele. That`s why Guardiola, when asked about whether Barca is the best team of all time, only answer that "But if in 10 or 15 years time people remember us for the soccer that we are playing now, that will make me very happy".