general brick top, general javier the fearless check out this article: Is Tito’s FC Barcelona Better Than Pep’s? The Best Team Ever?
Pep who? Tito Vilanova's FC Barcelona demolished Athletic Bilbao 5-1 at the Camp Nou on December 1
to set a new record for the best start in the history of La Liga
, with 13 wins and a draw in the first 14 games and 40 points from 42 possible. Real Madrid had 12 victories and two draws to start the 1991-92 season. This is a remarkable record, to be appreciated by all who love sports stats. But soccer fans worldwide, and not necessarily fans of Barça, are asking themselves if this edition of the squad is better than Pep Guardiola's version, which was labeled by many observers as the best team in the history of football. The answer is probably yes.
Following a rare faux pas in the second UEFA Champions League game with Celtic at Glasgow on November 7--a generous present to a club that was celebrating its 125th
anniversary?--Barcelona turned on the jets, rolling past its opponents with amazing authority and ease, producing marvelous football, never seen before. It seems that the entire team has found inspiration in Messi's quest to become the all-time scoring leader in a single calendar year.
Iniesta, a debonair genius, with a talent equal to Messi's minus the killer instinct, goes through the best period of his career. Xavi, Fabregas, Jordi Alba, and Pedro play with a determination, skill and gusto that generate a tremendous amount of scoring opportunities. Barcelona may score 4 or 5 goals, but most games look like the Blaugrana
could double that if it really wants. The problem is, once Messi--now at 84 goals for 2012, one behind Gerd Mueller's 1972 record--gets his usual doblete
, Barça makes art for the sake of art for the rest of the game. Instead of stepping on the fallen foe's jugular, the wonderful assassins lose interest, like a child who gets too many presents at once.
But some day Barça'll score a dozen goals against some quality team and then people who otherwise may root for Real Madrid or Manchester United, Bayern Munich or Juventus, Santos or Boca Juniors, and are therefore blinded by partisan passion, will understand and accept that what they're seeing when Barça has the ball--you can't have it; it is theirs!--is a miracle, a masterpiece to be cherished by all. The best there is, the best there ever was. Michelangelo, Beethoven, Shakespeare if you pardon the enthusiasm.
The forever unique Dream Team was assembled for the 1992 Olympic basketball tournament (in Barcelona!) from a fabulous generation of NBA stars at the peak of their careers. It was an unrepeatable, fortuitous occurrence. Barcelona is an enduring miracle, a dream team that has been playing twice a week for four and a half years. Is this the best team soccer ever?
It's impossible to compare teams from different eras, but let's try. The Real Madrid team of the late 1950s, with Puskas, Di Stefano, Gento, Kopa, is arguably the best club team ever, ahead of Helenio Herrera's Inter Milan (Mazzola, Corso, Suarez, Jair, Facchetti) of the mid-1960s, Ajax Amsterdam (Cruyff, Keizer, Neeskens, Haan) of the early 1970s, Bayern Munich (Beckenbauer, Muller, Rummenigge, Breitner) of the mid-1970s and Milan (van Basten, Rijkaard, Gullit, Baresi, Maldini) of the late 1980s.
Brazil's world champion teams of 1958 (Garrincha, Didi, Vava, Pele, Zagallo) and 1970 (Pele, Tostao, Gerson, Rivelino, Jairzinho) get the nod over Hungary's early 1950s squad (Puskas, Bozsik, Hidegkuti, Kocsis, Czibor) and Spain's current national team, which sandwiched a world title between two European crowns. Spain is practically Barcelona plus a few other players, but without Messi, so advantage Barça.
None of the teams of the past controlled the ball as much as Barcelona, very few scored with such ease, and none created as many scoring opportunities. Watching them passing the ball makes you think that they must have been playing together since they were 12 years old. Well, they did, in case you didn't know. Nine of the 11 starters against Athletic grew up playing soccer in La Masia
, Barça's youth soccer academy.
In a previous league game at Levante, at some point all 11 Barça players on the field were homegrown stars, an achievement infinitely more spectacular than winning 13 of the first 14 league games, in fact truly mind-boggling. Some day some club may equal Barça's performances. It's doubtful that it will do it only with its own children.As a kid, Vladimir Moraru dreamed to watch Kubala and Evaristo, but never had a chance. Wearing Messi's Barcelona shirt at 66 makes up for everything.