Barcelona’s current domestic dominance is best in club’s history

Barcelona celebrates after Barcelona won their 26th league title at the end of the Spanish League football match between Barcelona and Levante at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 27, 2019 (Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Barcelona celebrates after Barcelona won their 26th league title at the end of the Spanish League football match between Barcelona and Levante at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 27, 2019 (Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images) /

The obsession over the Champions League is taking attention away from Barcelona’s domestic dominance.

Seeing Real Madrid win three consecutive Champions League titles when they weren’t even the best team in Spain for two of those seasons, as well as seemingly relying on luck at key parts of games and moments of individual brilliance to bail them out of poor performances, certainly hurt Barcelona. They won five major trophies during that period, but it was overshadowed by the European dominance of their major rivals.

From pre-season, there has been a clear focus from the club on ending their European drought, as they haven’t won the competition since 2015, and this was personified by Lionel Messi who mentioned the desire to bring the trophy back to Camp Nou in his speech before the Joan Gamper trophy. Winning this year’s competition would take them to five in the past 13 years, which is hugely impressive, although it pales in comparison to Real’s four in the last five years.

Unlike the knockout format of the Champions League, leagues are less reliant on luck, poor officiating and other variables due to the sheer number of games. Therefore, it is a true test of a team — even Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane agrees — and unlike other teams such as PSG, Bayern Munich and Juventus, Barcelona has a rival in Real who can match them resources-wise, while Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid continue to severely overachieve resources and personnel-wise.

Winning eight La Liga titles in 11 years and 10 in 15 years is an incredible achievement, and they have the chance to win a fifth consecutive domestic double if they beat Valencia in the Copa del Rey final, as well as being in the hunt for a third European treble. This is especially impressive considering how much money Real have spent over the past decade, including bringing in the second best player in the world during that period, Cristiano Ronaldo.

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The only constant in the last 10 La Liga championships is Lionel Messi, and this period will go down as his era even though he has had some fantastic players around him at various times such as Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez, Samuel Eto’o and Neymar to name just a few. He has drastically altered the balance of power in Spanish football, and he is far from done as the club looks to consistently win Champions League trophies during the twilight of his career.

A mark of a team’s greatness is when they are expected to win something and there are sky-high expectations around them each season, so some of the recent Barcelona sides will go down in history as some of, if not, the best in the club’s history, as well as the history of European football. There have been changes in personnel, managers and tactics among other things, but the team has carried on winning in their unique style, although they have Messi to thank for a lot of that.

There are only two times in the club’s history where they have won a significant amount of major trophies in a short period: four league titles and three Copas between 1948 and 1953, and four consecutive league titles, one Copa and a Champions League title between 1990 and 1994. They had seasons prior to and after both periods without trophies.

Neither of those compares with the success of the last decade: eight league titles, six Copas and three Champions League titles, with the potential to add another Copa and Champions League — 2014 is the only season where no major trophy was won.

Before the Champions League tie against Liverpool, time should be taken to consider the magnitude of Barcelona’s achievement. We, as cules, have been lucky to witness such greatness — it certainly won’t last forever. In particular, we have been lucky to watch the greatest player in the history of the game and, unfortunately, he will have to retire one day, which is likely to lead to a downturn of some kind.

Next. Barcelona defeat Levante to secure La Liga title. dark

Winning the Champions League would be the cherry on top of the cake to complete the treble, assuming they win the Copa del Rey, but this should still be seen as a great team regardless of that even if they haven’t had much success in that competition over the past few years. Pep Guardiola’s side will always be seen as the pinnacle of Barcelona’s possession-based philosophy, but this current side and others before it deserve credit for the continued success.