This image is etched into the minds of every Barca fan, the moment when Abidal lifted the champions league trophy. After a successful liver tumor operation, Abidal was able to return to the field in just two months and help Barcelona win their 3rd champions league trophy in 6 years.
Here are the rest of my top 5 moments of Barcelona’s record breaking 2011 season.
5) Barca sweeps competition for the FIFA world player award with Messi, Iniesta, and Xavi as finalists. All three home grown products of the youth system, Barcelona shows the world how to create footballers.
4) Messi and Iniesta put on a show against Arsenal in the Champions League. A goal only Messi could score as he delicately receives the ball and chips it up over the charging keeper. The magic starts with Iniesta as you watch him carefully juke the defenders out of position with a fake shot and then chip the ball up through the tightest of spaces to land perfectly at Messi’s feet. This goal displays the pinnacle of Barca magic which no other team can produce.
3) David Villa’s wonder-strikes against Real Madrid/Manchester United. A tribute to David Villa, whose emergence in big games and important solo goals gave Barcelona the boost they lacked the previous year in their conquest of all competitions. When a striker can score despite the defense and keeper being in perfect position, as was the case in the Madrid goal, he is invincible, and world class strikers are defined by those kinds of goals. But more remarkably was his ability to check his ego, and be willing to partner with Messi and Pedro, and take less goals in exchange for trophies. Villa would be the leading scorer at any other club he played for, but he was willing to let Messi carry the torch, and this selflessness was what Barca lacked last year, and made the difference in their titles won.
2) Barcelona’s dominance against Real Madrid. The two teams met for a record amount games in all competitions, and Barcelona rose victorious. Most notably was their record breaking 5-0 destruction of Real Madrid in the the league at the Camp Nou, and Messi leading the charge as Barcelona knocked Real out of the Champions League semi finals. It was thrilling to win the League and Champions league, but doing so in the face of Real Madrid made it legendary. Messi continued to rise up during the biggest games, and no better example was his brilliant solo goal against Real Madrid as he continues to outperform his arch rival Ronaldo head to head.
1) Barcelona- European Champions. The holy grail for all European teams, Barca made the finals look easy. Nothing could mean more than these words, coming from possibly the greatest coach of all time Sir Alex Ferguson :
“They play the right way and they enjoy their football. They do mesmerise you with their passing and we never really did control Messi. In my time as manager, it’s the best team I’ve faced.”
That’s saying something, considering Fergie started managing in 1974 and has faced all the best teams since then with his historic Manchester United sqauds.
For more top moments and photo galleries check out this 2011 photo review of Barca:
COMMENT BELOW AND LET ME KNOW YOUR FAVORITE FROM 2011!!