Barça overcame a number of adversities in the 2010/11 season to win three titles. They became champions of Europe once again and made it three-in-a-row in la Liga.
After winning the third consecutive league, Pep Guardiola confessed that he had felt uncertain at
the start of the campaign. He knew that after the World Cup, it would be hard for the team to
maintain its supremacy. No fewer than eight members of the Barça team had been proclaimed world
champions in South Africa. Now he needed to motivate them to continue winning and feeling a hunger
for titles. Especially Valdés, Piqué, Puyol, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro and Villa, but also the
rest of the squad, had won a wealth of honours over the two previous seasons.
The Spanish Supercup came before the team had barely had time to get their ideas together, and after losing to Sevilla 3-1 in the first leg, they turned things round by winning 4-0 at the Camp Nou. This was just the start of things, although the league didn’t get off to the best of starts. After just one game, Zlatan Ibrahimovic departed and in game two, Barça were stunned at home by the newly promoted Hercules (0-2).
Amazing first half
But from their sixth outing, Barça won 16 games in a row between October 16 and February 12. This new record came on the basis of effort, perseverance and beautiful football, yet always showing respect for their opponents. The most outstanding win of all was the 5-0 against Real Madrid, which showed the world how brilliant Barça’s attacking combination play can be. That put them top of the table and they never had to look back, as they went on to set new records, such as the best first half in history (52 points out of a possible 57) in which they won every away game.
Barça were also flying away in the Champions League and Copa del Rey. In Europe they topped their group against Copenhagen, Rubin Kazan and Panathinaikos. In the cup they overcame Ceuta, Athletic Bilbao, Betis and Almeria to reach the final.
Three best in the world all from La Masia
The terrific way things were going was reflected at the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2010 . Messi, Iniesta and Xavi, three Barça players that grew up at la Masia, were the three nominees. All of them agreed that their individual accolades were really the result of a team effort, showing just how humble and generous these people are. This is something the only transfer window signing, Ibrahim Afellay, would soon be finding out. Like the other three new signings, Villa, Adriano and Mascherano, he adapted to the team from the word go, and performed exceptionally well.
The example of Abidal
As they moved closer to the league title, the messages from Madrid got harsher. With their pride hurt, Barça merely got better, and especially following the most negative news of the year: Abidal’s illness just a few days after the accusations of doping made by radio station COPE. These wicked comments were countered by the story of Abi’s courage and bravery.
Four crucial clásicos
The team produced great results away to Valencia (0-1), Sevilla (1-1) and Vila-real (0-1), before as good as deciding the title with a valuable draw at the Bernabéu (1-1). But they had three more meetings to come with the old enemy, right at the peak of the season. Barça took defeat gracefully in the Copa del Rey final and then got their revenge by beating Madrid in the semi finals of the Champions League and mathematically clinching their 21st league title at Levante , with two games in hand.
Fourth European Cup
The best was yet to come as FCB won their third title of the season at Wembley. Barça and Manchester United were the Champions League finalists as they had been in Rome two years earlier, and once against the Catalans won convincingly ( 3-1 ), and received praise all around the world. Goals from Pedro, Messi and Villa secured the title for the fourth time, which means there can now be no denying that Barcelona is the best team in the world right now.