Barcelona: More than a football club

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With 21 La Liga titles, 26 Copa del Rey crowns, four Champions League triumphs, four Cup Winners' Cups, four Super Cups, and two Club World Cup trophies, Barcelona's enduring brilliance is without question.

As the only European club to have played continental football every season since 1955, and one of only three sides never to be relegated from Spain's top division, the Catalans' success is unrivalled.

And, in 2009, when Barcelona became the first Spanish team to win the La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble, it marked the start of an unprecedented six out of six, competition wins in a single year.

On the National Day of Catalonia, GiveMeFootball celebrates one of the world's most prestigious clubs, which has become a symbol of Catalan culture - hence the motto "Mes que un club", which derives from the meaning 'More than a club' - highlighting one of its greatest achievements in the modern era.

Unlike many other football teams, the supporters own and operate Barcelona. It is the world's second-richest club in terms of revenue, with an annual turnover of €398million. Its long-standing rivalry with Real Madrid is one of the fiercest in the land, and matches between the two sides are referred to as El Clasico.

On the 29 November 2010, the Camp Nou was the venue for another Barca and Real battle, which finished with an emphatic 5-0 Liga victory for the hosts. Seven months after Jose Mourinho had claimed a power-shifting aggregate win with Inter Milan in the Champions League, he returned with his new, revitalised club.

Going into the game, Los Blancos were unbeaten in 19 matches, and held a one-point lead over Barcelona in the table, amid growing talk of Pep Guardiola's fear of his Portuguese counterpart, and yet another change of power.

Instead, Barca emphatically proved their doubters wrong, with a display of pace, power, possession and premium quality, in a performance that is seen as the most perfect execution yet of their high intensity pressing, and passing game. The Catalans dominated Real from start to finish.

"This is the first time I have ever been beaten 5-0. It's a historically bad result for us," conceded Mourinho after the match. "We played very, very badly, and they were fantastic. We gifted them two goals that were bordering on the ridiculous. It is our own fault."

Guardiola responded with a more balanced evaluation, saying: "This wasn't a definitive result when it comes to who will win the league, but we did define for the entire world how it is we like to play football."

Fans witnessed one of the most complete performances by a club team ever, particularly given the stakes of the game, and the identity and nature of the opposition. In what was already becoming one of the greatest team cycles in European club history, this was their defining match.

The victory played a big part in setting a path to enhancing that era of dominance. Madrid were on the back foot from then on in the title race, with Barcelona eventually sealing only the second three-in-a-row in their history. It also had a significant impact on the Clasico's that followed later - Mourinho realising it would be suicide to approach the games so openly again, choosing instead to return to his traditionally reductive style of play.

When the Spanish rivals met in the Champions league semi-final, Real and Cristiano Ronaldo had no response to Lionel Messi. With their overly aggressive tactics eventually going punished with a red card, the playmaker was left with sufficient space to seal the game and send Barcelona on their way to a second European Cup in three years.

After two years of Madrid's lavish spending, twinned with Mourinho's negatively reactive football, the Catalan club's success was a definitive victory for their entire philosophy. Real may have reclaimed La Liga title last season, ending Barcelona's four years of supremacy. But, under the stewardship of a new manager, Tito Vilanova, there's hope, more than expectation, that the balance can be restored again this year.

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