The current Barcelona team is somewhat of a perfect hybrid between the end of a golden era, and the start of another special footballing side. Stalwarts like Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, and Gerard Pique have been through the glories of the past decade, the likes of Luis Suarez, Neymar, Ivan Rakitic and Jordi Alba have all since joined the clubs ranks, with added star quality, in search of domestic and european glory. This is a team on the brink of achieving just that.
On Sunday evening in sunny Madrid, Lionel Messi scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory for the Catalans over Atletico Madrid, a scoreline that means Barcelona have clinched the La Liga title with a game to spare. Whilst Real Madrid were victorious too, their result did not matter, Barca had done what they needed to do, the celebrations of three points for Real sounded like faint whispers on a day where Barcelona's cries of victory were by far the loudest in Spain. The Azulgrana face Deportivo La Coruna in their last league game of the season, where they will lift the trophy in front of their own fans at the Nou Camp, regardless of the game's outcome.
Barcelona are then faced with the oddity of a home cup final, an opportunity that can come with either damning pressure or an infusing sense of glorious destiny. They will then travel to Berlin to take on Italian champions Juventus in the Champions League final.
Though Barcelona will be favourites, Juventus have proven that they can grind out results against Europe's top teams this season, they needn't not be taken lightly. If all goes to plan in Spain, Barca will be making the trip to Berlin in search of not only the Champions League crown, but the much coveted treble, a feat that would go down in history even for a team of such ability.
Despite being the best team in world football for a significant part of the last decade, Barcelona have had an off couple of years, they have been in the shadow of Real's famous tenth European Cup win, La Decima; and last year it was Atletico who pipped them to the league title in their own ground.
Three managers have been deployed in three years and at a point Barca weren't getting the best out of Lionel Messi. Barcelona have changed their fortunes rapidly this year though, they can do so with flying colours too, if they win the treble. Many believed last year, that the glory days of Xavi and Iniesta were over, but the two midfield veterans are set to conquer once more.
The Barcelona side this year has been more balanced, Pique has matured as a central defender and the likes of Javier Mascherano, Jeremy Mathieu and Marc Barta have all proved their worth as defensive partners to Pique. Jordi Alba and Dani Alves play the roles of being Barcelona's attacking wing backs, they are key to providing width in the oppositions half, and their pace in behind is a vital weapon often used to overload either side of the attack.
Both Andre Ter Stergen and Claudio Bravo have shown magnificently for Barcelona in goal this season, with boss Luis Enrique's regime of having a league goalkeeper and a cup goalkeepers working a treat for Barca.
Sergio Busquets is the midfield anchor, one of the more underrated players in the squad, Busquets is charged with breaking up oppositions attacks and imposing Barcelona's possession game. Iniesta and rakitic provide the spark in the middle of the field, both with work rates and creative play that can't be argued with, the three midfield men set the tempo.
The front three need no introduction, Messi, Neymar and Suarez are the best attack in world football, and they could be the best strike force in history if they continue to dominate over the next few years. Players like Xavi, Pedro and Rafinha grace the bench for Barcelona too, they seem a more complete squad than in recent years and this shows in their on field dominance in all competitions.
The set up at Barca has run like clockwork so far this year, two games can make a good season an unbelievable season. No doubt Barca have the ability to succeed, but will they? That is the question. Despite their inspired form and abundance of footballing arsenal there is no granted sense of inevitability about anything, not least their clash with the cunning Old Lady of Juventus in Berlin.News Now - Sport News