Guardiola’s team came up against an unstoppable Madrid and weren’t quite able to retain their La Liga title in 2011/12. The League winners ended with 100 points, nine more than Barça, who were brilliant at home, but dropped key points on the road.

Early points were dropped away to Real Sociedad (2-2) and Valencia (2-2) and were followed by defeat at Getafe (1-0), a draw with Espanyol (1-1) and another loss in Pamplona to Osasuna (3-2). Those results meant Barça found themselves 10 points adrift of Real Madrid at the halfway point of the season, despite a brilliant performance at the Santiago Bernabéu (1-3) before their trip to Japan.

Brave fight back just falls short

Barça then put together a run of 11 straight wins, despite the injuries to Afellay, Villa and Fontàs together with Abidal’s illness, which allowed them to reduce the distance to just 4 points ahead of Real Madrid’s visit to the Camp Nou, which the visitors won 1-2.

The last few league games, with the title virtually decided, served to confirm Leo Messi as the league’s leading scorer and Victor Valdes as the keeper who conceded least goals to win the Pichichi and Zamora Trophies respectively.