Skip to content

Some thoughts on FC Barcelona’s style, one that yielded trophy-filled substance

Apr 27, 2012, 9:27 AM EDT

Barca-2011

When Barcelona brushed aside Manchester United last year, claiming its second Champions League title in three years, I wrote about hyperbole.

I wrote in my blog about journalists’ over dependence on it. They are prone to it the way excited teenagers are prone to drama, admittedly. It’s part of the journalistic condition; we like to feel that we are living in, and writing about, history in the making.

All that said, I truly felt that Barcelona FC’s recent version, under Pep Guardiola’s masterful watch, must surely have been among the top individual clubs of all time.

To see what they did that 2011 day (pictured) to Sir Alex Ferguson’s might men was breathtaking. Remember, this outstanding Manchester United assembly had just won another English Premier League title, crowned champions in an association so many consider the globe’s best. And yet, the loss to Barcelona looked like varsity vs. JV on the schoolyard.

I wrote that Barcelona, guided majestically by Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Leo Messi, were absolutely playing a different game – and quite a beautiful one.

When elements of substance and style come together so seamlessly, so effectively, something truly enlightened is going on.

See, there’s that hyperbole I talked about. But I believe it’s justified in this case.

The entire side’s ability to create space and maintain the tidiest of control is like none I’ve ever seen. Their overall tactical awareness and individual attention to spacing and efficient movement off the ball is sublime. Their passing precision (giving the ball to the correct foot, for instance, at just the right moment) is utterly enlightened. Their footwork is perennially bright and active. And consider that the level of fitness required for that pressing game is something most of can’t fathom.

That’s what I wrote on my blog a year ago.

This year’s Barcelona? Something was clearly missing, a knife’s edge gone dull. Still, what Guardiola built over four years shouldn’t be diminished. The blessedness of substance meeting style never should be.

Latest Posts
  1. FC Santa Claus earns promotion, team broadcasters go ballistic (video)

    Sep 30, 2014, 7:52 AM EDT

    fcsantaclaus

    FC Santa Claus is bringing soccer matches to the good boys and girls of the Ykkonen.

  2. FIFA votes to eliminate third-party ownership

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:44 PM EDT

    Blatter AP

    Sepp Blatter confirmed FIFA voted strongly to eliminate third-party ownership in all professional settings, with a transitional period of a few years to be instituted immediately.

  3. WATCH: Men In Blazers recap derby weekend, visit with Brandon McCarthy

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Men in Blazers Brandon McCarthy

    The Men discussed all things Premier League on this week’s episode, including Phil Jagielka, Wayne Rooney, and a Peter Crouch chicken dance.

  4. Miguel Herrera pumps up Mexico’s crop of youngsters

    Sep 29, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT

    Herrera AP

    With plenty of tournament success, the Mexican youth is turning the head of the senior team’s manager.

  5. Alan Pardew expects to have “serious conversations” with Mike Ashley

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:47 PM EDT

    Pardew Getty Images

    Things surrounding Newcastle’s managerial position have become increasingly untenable.

  6. Report: PSG’s under-fire Blanc could face axe without win vs Barcelona

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT

    Blanc Getty Images

    If PSG fail to make serious noise against top Champions League clubs, Laurent Blanc could be on his way out of Paris.

  7. MLS salaries released, showing Kaka nets MLS-record $7.1 million

    Sep 29, 2014, 7:12 PM EDT

    Kaka Getty Images

    Making $400,000 more than anyone else in the league, Kaka is set to lead Orlando City into MLS with a colossal paycheck.

  8. Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan says he hopes to invest in MLS

    Sep 29, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT

    Tan Getty Images

    With MLS movement at a high, the controversial Malaysian expressed his wishes to enter the US realm

  9. Olivier Giroud signs new Arsenal deal through 2018

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:51 PM EDT

    Giroud Getty Images

    He’s out with a broken tibia, but Giroud still remains vital to Arsenal’s long-term success.

  10. Report: Chivas USA to suspend operations for at least 2 years

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

    Chivas logo

    According to an ESPN report, Chivas will take at least a 2-year break to allow for a rebrand to occur and a new stadium to be built.

  11. Stoke City 1-0 Newcastle: Crouch’s header sinks Newcastle, Pardew deeper (video)

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:54 PM EDT

    Crouch Getty Images

    Peter Crouch’s early header put Stoke up early as Alan Pardew’s job security took another hit.

  12. Adnan Januzaj scores unbelievable free kick for Manchester United U-21’s

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT

    Januzaj Getty Images

    He hasn’t managed to pick out a start for the Red Devils’ senior side, but getting minutes for the U-21’s, he showed off his bright talents.

  13. Christian Benteke set to make Villa return after nearly six-month absence

    Sep 29, 2014, 3:51 PM EDT

    Benteke Getty Images

    After playing over an hour for the U-21 team this weekend, Paul Lambert will have Benteke available for selection against Manchester City.

  14. Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey out injured for a month

    Sep 29, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT

    Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Getty Images

    Gunners lose star midfielder for a month after hamstring injury.

  15. Watch Live: Stoke City vs. Newcastle United (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Sep 29, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer League Cup AP

    All eyes on Pardew. Watch Stoke host Newcastle, right here.

  16. Premier League preview: Stoke City vs. Newcastle

    Sep 29, 2014, 12:59 PM EDT

    Will Stoke be able to extract revenge after their 5-1 loss to Newcastle on Boxing Day? Getty Images

    Watch Stoke vs. Newcastle live on Monday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

  17. Manchester United to play overseas friendlies during the regular season?

    Sep 29, 2014, 12:13 PM EDT

    Alexander Buttner, Gareth Bale AP

    Will United head back to the USA, the Middle East or elsewhere if they schedule friendlies during the current season?

  18. Premier League Playback: Can Chelsea stay unbeaten throughout 2014-15?

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an in-depth look at the PL during Week 6.

  19. Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney apologizes for red card

    Sep 29, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT

    _77863481_rooney_red_getty Getty Images

    Rooney: “I saw the West Ham player making a counter-attack and I tried to break-up the play but I just misjudged it. I apologized to the lads.”

Featured video

Week 6: Premier League recap