The eighth Champions League semi-final in 12 years
After eliminating Manchester United, Barça are into the last four of Europe¡s top club competition
JOSEP GABERNET LÓPEZ
Thanks to the 3-0 win in the second leg of the quarterfinals against Manchester United at the Camp Nou on Tuesday evening, Ernesto Valverde’s side are one of the four teams left in the 2018/19 Champions League. It’s Barça’s eighth appearance at the semi-final stage in the last 12 years, after consecutive appearances from 2007/08 to 2012/13 as well as in the 2014/15 season and the current campaign.
Five coaches have been involved during this period, from Frank Rijkaard to Ernesto Valverde. The team coached by the Dutchman qualified for the last four in 2007/08, Pep Guardiola (2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12) and Tito Vilanova (2012/13) gave some continuity and, during the 2014/15 campaign, Luis Enrique ensured the Blaugrana reached the semis again. Now, Valverde can add himself to the list.
Messi, present since the 2008 semifinal
From the current Barça squad, the Argentine star is the only player to have participated in the eight semi-finals over the last 12 years, and Barça’s No.10 has scored four goals at that stage of the competition. Gerard Piqué and Sergio follow Messi with seven appearances in the last 12 years, a figure equalled by Xavi and Iniesta.
17th appearance in the last four
FC Barcelona also qualified for the last four of the continental competition in 1959/60, 1960/61, 1974/75, 1985/86, 1991/92 , 1993/94, 1999/00, 2001/02 and 2005/06, meaning they’ve reached this stage on 17 occasions in total. That places them in third as the team that has qualified most often (under the name of both the European Cup and the Champions League).