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.       

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
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.

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'