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Comparing the most successful FC Barcelona teams over the years

  • Barcelona supporters have been blessed over the years with some wonderful talent pervading throughout their squads. Brazilians, Dutchmen, Argentinians ...
FEATURED WRITER
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 08 Jun 2015, 20:08 IST

Barcelona supporters have been blessed over the years with some wonderful talent pervading throughout their squads. Brazilians, Dutchmen, Argentinians....they’ve all left an indelible mark on the history of this great club.Once Johan Cruyff took over in the late 1980s, it would only be a matter of time before this forward thinker would bring the glory days back to Catalonia. And so it proved to be; the “Dream Team” era remains one of the finest ever for Barcelona, a time when their first European Cup would be secured amongst a plethora of La Liga titles.Louis van Gaal couldn’t quite match the success of his countryman, but his team was efficient if not stylish. Frank Rijkaard, another Dutchman, can be credited with giving Lionel Messi his debut in the first team and bringing home the second of Barca’s four European Cups / Champions League titles.Pep Guardiola’s time at Barcelona will not be repeated anywhere. Ever. He borrowed Cruyff’s template and took it to a whole new level.14 trophies in four years and losing just 21 games in all competitions – that’s something that might never be matched.And now Pep’s ex-colleague Luis Enrique has led his team to a treble, a feat that only a selective few managers have been successful in pulling off, and his team did it in spite of the transfer ban.Let’s take a look at the five most successful Barcelona teams from across the last few decades:

#1 Johan Cruyff\'s Dream Team

When Johan Cruyff was persuaded to return as manager, he did so under no illusions. Barcelona had under-achieved since his retirement as a player, and the club was looking for that injection of invention and genius that Cruyff had sprinkled liberally throughout his playing career.

A Copa del Rey and a Cup Winners Cup in his first two seasons weren’t a bad way to start, but the haul still wasn’t enough to please the locals. Cules had waited long enough, and success at the highest level was demanded.

They didn’t have to wait long. Four successive La Liga titles were won with a swagger and confidence not seen in a long, long time. Playing the 4-3-3 that Barca readily identify with nowadays (switching to a 3-4-3 when required), luminaries such as Michael Laudrup, Pep Guardiola, Hristo Stoichkov and Ronald Koeman were instrumental not only in the team’s success but also in the style that Cruyff wanted the club to adopt.

Indeed, it was Koeman’s extra-time thunderbolt at Wembley in 1992 that would bring Barca their first ever European Cup, and thus Cruyff’s legend was assured.

Whilst the success of Cruyff’s team stood alone at that point, it should be remembered that the comedown was swift. A humiliating 4-0 defeat to AC Milan in another European final was the pre-cursor to the Dutchman’s long, slow goodbye.

The team lost its lustre and, eventually, so did Cruyff.

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Published 08 May 2015, 01:36 IST
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