Every FC Barcelona fan no matter when they started watching football would have remembered or would have at least heard about the wonders that this team displayed in the season of 2008-09. That season was coached by one of the greatest coaches of all time: Pep Guardiola.
FC Barcelona of season 2008-09 was something out of this world. They were considered as one of the most dangerous teams in the world. The time from the year 2008-2012 became the golden period for FC Barcelona. They became the first team in the world to become a Sextuple winner. They won every possible trophy they could have won that season. Every team was terrified of FC Barcelona during the Pep Guardiola era and it was not just the 2008-09 season, they ruled European football and had many major milestones.
The Sextuple season 2008-09
The 2011-12 season made Lionel Messi a legend in the eyes of every football fan. He wrote his name in the books of history with a record so massive that no matter which team a fan supported, he praised Lionel Messi for that particular season. Lionel Messi established a monstrous record by scoring 91 goals in a single season setting an all-time high for any player in the history of European football.
Sir Alex Ferguson has named the 2011 Barcelona team as the most ‘unplayable’ he ever came up against as Manchester United manager. “The one that made the biggest impression on me is the Barcelona we met at Wembley, with Manchester United, in the final of the Champions League 2011. They were Unplayable.” Fergie said.
Pep’s Barcelona followed a system of ‘Tiki Taka’ which referred to one-touch passing and a high possession game. He believed that having a larger chunk of possession would eventually lead to higher chance creations, fewer threats and eventually more goals. This system worked beautifully as the Barcelona team dominated the game and the possession every time they stepped on the pitch. He recruited players in whom he saw great calibre such as Dani Alves who was transferred by FC Barcelona in 2008 and has been one of the right backs the club and the world has ever seen.
The fans and the teams gasped when they saw this FC Barcelona play. With the likes of Iniesta, Xavi and Busquets in the midfield, the possession holding capabilities were greatly enhanced. These La Masia graduates were maestros of the ball, taking the ball off of them was almost next to impossible. Their vision was another weapon that helped them to send pinpoint passes forward that helped to create chances and to get players through to positions which no one could have anticipated.
The firepower of Lionel Messi, Pedro, Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry helped finish those chances created by the midfield. They were one of the most feared attackers of the footballing world. The dribbles of Lionel Messi and the shooting of Samuel Eto’o as well as Thierry Henry caused tremors in the feet of every defence and goalkeeper.
The Unplayable FC Barcelona
The Defence was no less as the likes of Gerard Pique, Puyol, Dani Alves and Eric Abidal could defend any attack that came their way. Dani Alves played as a wing-back and was a very explosive player as his partnership with Messi helped him create several goals for him. He possessed amazing crossing abilities as well as had the speed to catch up to attacks that came their way.
The goalkeeper Victor Valdes another product of their youth academy ‘La Masia’ was outstanding between the posts during this period. He was a shot-stopper and was considered one of the best goalkeepers of that time.
The most important factor was the tactics and strategies of Pep Guardiola. He had a unique way of seeing the game and analysed it in a very unique way which helped his team to get through the 11 man squad and put the ball back in the net.
After Pep Guardiola left at the end of the 2011-12 season, Barcelona tried to maintain the standard of football that was under their previous coach. But they couldn’t replicate the results to that standard which Pep Guardiola did set for this team in front of the World of Football.
Pep Guardiola left FC Barcelona with 14 trophies after 4 seasons
Will they be able to achieve great heights again now since they are restructuring and reconstructing the squad? Does Ronald Koeman possess the necessary skills to take this team to finals and win those trophies?