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.       

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.

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?