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News article on: Football

Ins and outs

FC Barcelona brought in three new signings for the 2006/07 season: Thuram, Zambrotta (Juventus) and Gudjohnsen (Chelsea). Four players left the club: Van Bommel (Bayern Munich), Larsson (Helsingborg), Gabri (Ajax) and Maxi (on loan to Mallorca).

Year of disappointing endings

Although Barça stayed in contention towards the end of almost every tournament they played in, they ended the 2006-07 season with just two trophies to show for it: the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa Catalunya.

One game away from becoming World Club Champions, in the European Super Cup, a point off winning the Spanish League, and a game away from the Spanish Cup Final, Barça 2006-07 had the chance to win several major honours this season, but ended up with just two minor honours in the Spanish Super Cup and the Copa Catalunya. The Champions League, in which they went out in the second round to Liverpool, was the only competition they did not come frustratingly close to winning.

Promising start

Web_alegria_02.jpgThe season promised everything for the recently crowned Spanish and European champions. They played exquisite football to play Bayern Munich off the park in a 4-0 win in the Gamper Trophy, and beat Espanyol in the Spanish Super Cup. But things went horribly wrong when Sevilla cruised to a 3-0 win in the European Super Cup match in Monaco.

Strong opening

The League bode well, with Barça leading the way for most of the first half of the season, while the early games in the Copa del Rey and in Europe were also successfully negotiated. But a double blow came with long-term injuries to Messi and Eto'o and Barça had to wait until the final day of the Champions League group stage before securing passage to the next round with a 2-0 win over Werder Bremen.

ronaldinho3.jpgThe Argentinian and Cameroonian were sorely missed as the results started going the wrong way, although a fine team spirit and the goalscoring form of Ronaldinho kept Frank Rijkaard’s side on track. His overhead goal against Villarreal is one the Camp Nou will be remembering for many years.

December trip to Japan

web_14.jpgAfter putting Bremen out of Europe, Barcelona travelled to Japan to represent Europe in the Clubs World Cup. And they delighted their oriental fans with a tremendous showing against Mexican side America in the semi finals, winning 4-0, but failed to produce the same form in the final against Internacional of Porto Alegre. The second title of the season had slipped away.

Liverpool and Getafe cause more grief

WEB_GETAFE_11.jpgThere was further disappointment in the Champions League and the Spanish Cup. Barça went out of Europe to Liverpool, drawing 2-2 on aggregate but crashing out on the away goals rule.

The Cup had seen Barça impress against Badalona, Alavés and Zaragoza, but they despite a promising 5-2 win over Getafe in the semi final first leg, including Messi’s wonder-goal, they inexplicably fell 4-0 in the return, and missed out on what had looked like a certain final ticket.

Thrilling end to the league

betis_001.jpgOut of the Cup, Barça’s league chances then took a knock when they allowed Betis to sneak a late equaliser at the Camp Nou, thus sending Real Madrid top. It was neck and neck between the two, but as long as they had the same points, Madrid had the edge due to their better head to head record.

Then came 18 seconds of madness on the penultimate weekend. Madrid came from behind to draw with Zaragoza, and just as they scored, Espanyol equalised with Barça at the Camp Nou. A great chance had gone to waste and Capello’s side made no mistake on the final day, rendering Barça’s goal-fest in Tarragona useless.

The sixth Copa Catalunya

WEB_06.jpgJust before the league ended, Barça had at least added the Copa Catalunya to the season’s haul. With several players away on international duty, Barça beat Nàstic to reach the final, 4-3, where they beat familiar foes Espanyol on penalties after the game had ended 1-1. It was the sixth time Barcelona had won the title.

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