Barcelona and Trebles: A Strange Love Story
While most clubs don’t have the joy of celebrating a treble, Barcelona have enjoyed celebrating two of them.
The triple triumph of a league title, a cup title and the glorious Champions League earns the club a ‘treble’, literally meaning the ‘triple’.
Adding on top of their achievements, Barcelona gets to boast about their youth academy. The Masia played a crucial role in both of the treble-winning campaigns for the Blaugrana and their philosophy drove them, past opponents.
However, three years have gone past since the city of Barcelona last enjoyed a treble winning bus parade in the streets and they had to 'make up' with a double winning bus-parade this season.
The First Treble - Special
In reality, the treble is a Herculean challenge for even the biggest clubs in Europe but Pep Guardiola’s appointment in 2008 changed everything.
Barcelona failed to win their first two matches in the Spanish League but the players and the fans were quick to notice the uprising of a revolution, a revolution that would cement the foundations of Beautiful Football.
Massive El Clasico victories, a one-sided Champions League final and total dominance in the Spanish League and cup marked the first treble winning season
Winning a historic treble in his first season at the Catalan capital, Guardiola jumped shipped a few years later to aid Bayern Munich, and then Manchester City in their road to glory, but the Spanish manager is yet to win a treble with any of those clubs.
So what makes Barcelona so special?
The Second Treble - Rebirth
Major clubs go on a dry spell after winning a treble, presumably sinking in over-confidence and glory but Barcelona recreated their glorious season under Guardiola when Luis Enrique, another former Barcelona player, drove them to glory in the 2014-2015 season.
The only club to ever win two trebles in European history, Barcelona have developed themselves into one of the most famous and fan-followed football clubs all over the globe, and the triplets play a humongous role in the same.
However, there is a major drawback that comes naturally with such fame; Expectations! The Azulgranas have managed to do something twice that even their fiercest rivals, Real Madrid haven’t done in their long and golden history failed to do.
As Madrid’s honour gallery lies two trebles short of Barcelona, the exceptions of fans (and critics alike) continue to mount on the more ‘successful’ side of the two.
Pitfalls of Success - Expectations
Every season that the men in Red and Blue ‘fail’ to deliver a trio of trophies, critics go on to brand their season as a failure.
Back in 2015, when the team were set to face Juventus in Berlin for the Champions League final, Barcelona’s star left-back, Jordi Alba ascertained that the inner circle of players won’t see the season as a failure if they fail to lift three trophies by the end.
In the end, Barcelona did win the Champions League, and another treble, reigniting the love story.
What's next for FC Barcelona?
Have the Catalans set the bar so high that even they fail to deliver to the expectations of their demanding fans? Some say so, but it would be highly in-human on anyone’s part to brand a club which has had the courage and will to deliver not one, but TWO triplets in a short span of time as a failure.
While some critics claim that the Camp Nou is a sinking ship and would end up free-falling as some other European clubs with reflective histories have, Ernesto Valverde’s first season as the helm delivered a double.
For now, the focus of the Catalans should be primarily on finding a replacement for Andres Iniesta, who confirmed last week that this season would be his last in a Barcelona shirt. Denis Suarez's inclusion in Valverde's recent plans sparked life in the hopes of Barcelona fans and Arthur's arrival will surely boost the squad strength. Read more about the situation regarding the veteran midfielder here.
The double is a tough challenge in itself, but what would certainly conclude Barcelona season would be the embarrassing night in Rome.
Such is our media and the exceptions we have from the Catalans, we want them to deliver a treble every year, and so is the love story between Barcelona and the triplet a complicated one.