There are those who say that whilst Ajax and Holland invented total football, Spain and Barcelona perfected it, and yet, how did this current dream team emerge, and why must we pay it homage? In order to do that, we have to examine the genesis and emergence of this team alongside the significant records which it achieved, which, for some reason, leads us back to the 2002 World Cup in Japan, and the terrific trio of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo (who, alongside, the amazing quartet of Figo, Ronaldo, Zidane and Raul) were perhaps one of the most amazing forward sets, complimenting impressive squads. Winning the World Cup that year, the PSG playmaker attracted the attention of Big Names, notably Manchester United, and Barcelona, who engaged in a “bidding war.” Following defeat in the previous season, Beckham had left United for Madrid, leaving the door open for 18 year old, C Ronaldo to join from Lisbon (£12.24m, Aug, 2003) alongside Kleberson, Eric Djemba, Tim Howard and David Bellion. Barcelona, with newly appointed Frank Riijkaard, and Ronaldinho. Davids joined on loan from Juventus in the Winter (before moving to Inter), whilst Iniesta and Valdes emerged from the youth system. Riquelme left for Villalreal and Fabregas went to Arsenal.
Miraculously, after being bottom of the league, the team eventually cemented a place in second, securing Champions League qualification. Valencia won the league, Deportivo finished third, and Madrid finished fourth. In Europe, Barcelona were eliminated from the UEFA cup (1-0 on aggregate) after going down at Parkhead, before only registering a scoreless draw against Celtic in the return. The following season, Deco and Eto’o joined, whilst Kluivert left. Overmars and Enrique retired, and yet, despite restructuring, Barcelona won the league, although Chelsea eliminated them from the UCL (2-1, 4-2). In 2005/06, they won the UCL final against 10 man Arsenal, managing to win at Chelsea and Milan, as they pipped Madrid, and Valencia to the league.
In 2006/07 Real Won
UCL Milan beat Liverpool 2-1, Liverpool Beat Barca on away goals
In 2007/08 Real Madrid
UCL United win the UCL, beating Chelsea in the final, Barcelona 1-0 on aggregate
In 2008/09 Barcelona
UCL Barcelona beat United 2-0, beating Chelsea, on away goals, en route
In 2009/10 Barcelona (1 defeat Forlans Athletico, to Madrids 4, inc 2-0 and 2-6)
UCL Inter Milan beat Barcelona in the semis, 3-2 on aggregate
In 2010/11 Barcelona (2 defeats, Home to Hercules, away to Sociedad, to Madrids 4, include 5-0)
UCL Barcelona beat United 3-1
In 2011/12 Real Madrid (2 defeats, Levante, to Barcelona 3, Getafe, Osasuna,), Chelsea win cup
UCL Chelsea win the Cup, en route, beating Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate
Barca’s rise to the heights might be linked to the signing and departure of their “black three.”
In June 2008, Ronaldinho left, just a year after Henry arrived. Henry left in July 2010 after enduring a torrid World Cup, and having been resigned to the substitutes bench for much of the second half of his final season. In June 2008, Deco left. In July 2009, Eto’o left. After joining in 2007, at the same time of Abidal, in 2010 Yaya Toure Left. Most importantly, however, on October 16, 2004, Rijkaard gave him his league debut, then, in the 05/06 season, he was promoted to the first team as his contract was updated. Against Udinese, he debutted on September 27 2005, however, his season ended early when he limped off against Chelsea, March 7, 2006. In 2006/07, he establishhed himself, scoring 14 in 26, including a hat trick against Madrid. That season, 18 April 2007, he scored a famous individual goal against Getafe in the Copa Del Rey semi final. In 2007/08, he finished behind Kaka in the WPOTY. He limped off against Celtic on March 4, before his Barcelona team were knocked out by eventual winners, Manchester United. It was in 2008/09 that Messi, handed Ronaldinho’s jersey, began to shine. It was that year, they completed a double over Madrid winning 2-0 at home, and 2-6 away. Guardiola had arrived, and after two seasons without a trophy, he won the club 6 in two years. In spite of his 2003 arrival, which saw the club experience a change in fortunes, in 2008, he left.