Following Celtic's victory - Just how difficult is it to beat Barcelona?

 

Last night saw an injury-ravaged Celtic side emerge victorious over arguably the best club side on the planet. In terms of the club's rich history, many are lauding Neil Lennon's achievement as second only to the European Cup victory of 1967, but in the cold light of day, when the euphoria has subsided, the question will be posed: Just how difficult are Barcelona to beat?

Barcelona's status as one of the world's elite footballing sides has been long established, but it is only since 2008 that the Catalans have commanded an air of invincibility. The beginning of this period of imperious form coincides with the appointment of Pep Guardiola as head coach, and with that, the implementation of the tika-taka style of aesthetically-pleasing football for which they are now known.

Guardiola, fresh off the back of an impressive stint as coach of FC Barcelona B, raised eyebrows with his decision to ship the attacking duo of Deco and Ronaldinho out of the club. His brand of tiki-taka football was to revolve around the seemingly telepathic understanding between midfield schemers Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, both products of the prestigious Barcelona youth academy - La Masia.

The emphasis based on recruitment from La Masia, also responsible for the likes of Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi, coupled with Guardiola's tactical discipline, brought immediate success in the form of a first league title in three seasons and a third European Cup.

Two more league titles, two Copa del Rey wins and another Champions League victory later, this Barca team has well and truly established itself as one of the greatest club sides of all time, thereby making Celtic's victory all the more impressive.

Last night's result marks the first time Barcelona have been beaten in the Champions League group stages since a shock home defeat to Rubin Kazan in October 2009, thus ending an unbeaten run of 18 fixtures.

As well as winning the title in 2009 and 2011, they also reached the semi-final stage in 2010 and 2012, thus illustrating their recent near invincibility in the competition.

Despite said form, Barcelona have often struggled when playing in Britain, with the exception of the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley, not managing a victory on this isle since a 2-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in February 2006.

Gleeful Celtic fans will also point to the fact Barcelona have proven unbeatable in the Spanish league this season, leading the chasing pack on 18 points, and in doing so have equalled the record points tally after ten games in La Liga set by arch rivals Real Madrid in 1997.

Clearly, beating Barcelona is no mean feat, and Neil Lennon deserves all the plaudits that will inevitably come his way in the coming days. Although Barca have often fallen short on British shores, last night's events will go down in history as one of Scottish football's all-time greatest achievements.       

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee