Messi and Barcelona are still the Real deal

Monday, 21 December 2009


On Saturday evening Barcelona were crowned FIFA Club World Champions after beating Argentine club Estudiantes in the final 2-1 after extra time, and in doing so they have become the first club ever to win the sextuple.

It caps off an amazing year for coach Pep Guardiola who after just 18 months in the job has won every trophy possible. In his first season as manager, Barcelona won the treble of La Liga, the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League becoming the first club in Spain to win the domestic treble, which in itself is a truly remarkable feat.

But it did not stop there, this season Guardiola and Barcelona have won the Supercopa de España against Bilbao, the UEFA Super Cup against Shakhtar Donetsk, and now the FIFA Club World Cup against Estudiantes capping off the perfect six, winning six trophies in six competitions.

Speaking after the game, Guardiola, who was in tears said: "For me this was a great year. We have achieved something that no one has achieved before."

"I'm lucky that I have such quality players in my squad. The success that we've had has been down to them and I'd like to thank them for that.”

"To win six successive titles is unthinkable. So many things contributed to it; having few injuries, a squad made up of players who play because they like to.”

“Everyone should be happy and congratulations to the club and everybody associated with Barça. We've had the best year in the history of the club."

The FIFA Club World Cup was the only major trophy that Barcelona had not won in its 100-year history, but now they can add the elusive trophy to their list.
However, they didn’t do it in the easiest of ways, especially after going behind in the 37th when Mauro Boselli scored for Estudiantes.

It was a lead the Copa Libertadores champions kept right up until the death, as Barcelona dealt the Argentines a major blow in the final minutes of the game when substitute Pedro Rodriguez headed in the equaliser, thus taking the game to extra-time.

But the Spanish Champions secured to victory in the 110th minutes. Lionel Messi was the scorer, as he chested in Dani Alves' cross. Messi, who already won the 2009 Ballon d'Or, earlier this month, could add the FIFA World Player of the Year to his tally later today, completing a momentous year for himself personally.

As far as I am concerned Barcelona still are the Real deal in Spain, and for all the money Madrid have spent they are still no match for Barcelona. Guardiola has put together a very strong side who actually work as a cohesive unit, unlike Madrid, who are still in their honeymoon period.

Many eyebrows were raised when Guardiola swapped striker Samuel Eto’o for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the close season but the Spaniard has shown great vision in doing so, because the Swede has fitted right in with the attack at the Catalan club.

The club has gone from strength to strength, and despite a minor setback against Rubin Kazan in the group stages, I would not be surprised if Barcelona makes the Champions League Final at the Bernabeau in May, while also winning La Liga again this season.

History is always there to be re-written, and that is exactly what Barcelona are doing. Their period of dominance is not over yet, all I am going to say is long may it continue.

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Touchline Views

This is a football blog by Ian Walsh, covering all aspects of the game - from the Premier League and La Liga to the slightly mental football stories we all love.

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