French sports paper L’Equipe has featured FC Barcelona on its cover titled ‘Barça Generation’, dedicated to the side’s incontestable lead in the Spanish Liga and strong challenge for another Champions League title. On the inside pages, the paper is unrelenting in its praise for FCB, claiming that “There is Nothing Better” than the Catalan club.
The report by Lionel Dangoumau stresses how strikingly effective Barça have been this season, stating that they are “one of the best teams ever.” Barça are not shooting as much as they have done in recent seasons (an average of 13.8 attempts this season, 15.8 in 2010-2011 and 18.6 in 2008-2009), but with 3.4 goals a game, they are averaging more than in 2008-2009 (2.8) and 2010-2011 (2.5). “It is impossible to play against Barça at the moment” he writes, remembering that apart from Real Madrid (2-2), nobody has managed to take a single point off them in the Spanish championship.
The style is still the same, and so are the players. In today’s edition, the newspaper explains that eight of the current squad have been in the first team for four years, and all play a fundamental role in the unique style: Valdes, Piqué, Alves, Busquets, Xavi, Pedro, Messi and Iniesta. The arrival of Jordi Alba in the summer has added balance to the overall team, with his attacking runs down the left wing, and the writer adds that Fabregas seems to have finally found his right place.
People are stunned by what they are seeing, both players and commentators alike. “It is amazing how they keep applying pressure as if they were dying from hunger even when they’re winning 2-0” says Mallorca defender Pereira. “It is impossible for a team to beat Barça right now” admits Pichi Alonso, a commentator on Canal+ and a former Barça player.
“If on top of that they get the little bit luck you need in a game, it’s very difficult to stop them” reckons the French writer, who also highlights La Masia as “a goldmine where kids learn the reference points about the team from a young age”.
L’Équipe compares Barça to some of the greatest teams in football history, such as the Real Madrid of Kopa and Di Stefano (1955-1960), the Inter of Suarez and Fachetti (1963-1967), the Ajax of Johan Cruyff (1969-1973), the Bayern Munich of Beckenbauer and Muller (1970-1976) and the AC Milan of Van Basten and Gullit (1989-1994).