Sunday, November 07, 2004

The new Barcelona "Dream Team"

With last nights victory of 2-1 at home against Deportivo La Coruña, FC Barcelona has just equalled their best start of the Spanish season ever. This indeed symbolizes the gigantic potential of the current Barcelona team. In the early 1990's FC Barcelona had what is remembered as the "Dream Team" under the legendary Dutchman Johann Cruyff. It was a complete team, with great players like Ronald Koeman, Michael Laudrup, Hristo Stoichkov, Amor, Andoni Zubizarreta, Josep Guardiola, Jose Mari Bakero and Txiki Beguiristain. Playing entertaining and attacking football, that team went on to win four consecutive Spanish championships, as well as FC Barcelona's only victory in the Champions League, in 1992 against Sampdoria. In that period, Barcelona was by far the best Spanish side, totally overshadowing the arch-rivals from Real Madrid.

The current Barcelona team, under another Dutchman, Frank Riijkaard, is already being compared to the "Dream Team" of those days. And for now, they are bound to break their first record. I doubt it will be the last. They are very entertaining to watch, and has an amazing attack with Eto'o and/or Henrik Larsson in front, and such marvelous players in the second line of attack as Ronaldinho, Deco and Giuly. Also, Xavi on midfield has been displaying qualities which in my view makes him the best Spanish player at the moment. His superb passes remind of Michael Laudrup, while his tenacity reminds of Jose Mari Bakero. Defense is also looking good, with a never-tiring Puyol doing great work.
But in the end, the best thing about this Barcelona team, is the harmony which seems to surround it. While great players have always passed through the team, there has always been great pressure from the demanding Catalonian fans. Of course, this can still change, bur for now, the team is displaying wonderful football. At a time when so many victories are going to teams that play tactically defensive games, it is refreshing to see a great team like Barcelona play entertaining and attacking football. I hope they get very far with it, and I also think they will.

No comments: