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Barcelona Champions League History

Thu 19 May 2022 | 4:30

Barcelona have a tremendous record in the tournament having won it on five occasions (1992, 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2015). Read on to learn more about the Barcelona Champions League history.

Barcelona is one of the biggest clubs in the history of Spanish football. Throughout history, their club and city have been both famous and infamous in Spain, especially in political matters. Also, their rivalry with Real Madrid is one of the most exciting and heated battles in the world of football.

Barcelona’s first appearance in a European competition goes back to 1955 and a tournament called, Inter-Cities Fairs Cup or European Fairs Cup.

Barcelona’s record in the Champions League is one of the best in all of Europe as they have won the competition on five occasions, a total that puts the Blaugranes amongst the most successful clubs in the tournament.

Barcelona Champions League History:

In the following article, we want to take a look at Barcelona’s journey in the most lucrative competition between European clubs,

UEFA Champions League

, formerly known as European Cup.

Although known for being successful in the Spanish league, winning the title 26 times, second only to

Real Madrid

who have 35,

Barcelona

was not known for being a big club in Europe before the 1990s. After the ’90s and during recent years is where Barcelona grew out to be one of Europe’s giant clubs.

They have won the Champions League 5 times in 1992, 2006, 2009, 2011, and lately in 2015. They are also in fifth place in the list of clubs with the most UEFA Champions League trophy behind Real Madrid (13), Milan (7), Bayern Munich, and Liverpool (6).

Road to the 1st title:

Regarding

Barcelona Champions League history

, it is worth mentioning that they started their appearance in the Champions League back in the 1959/60 season. The competition was then called European Cup.

They got past through the preliminary stages and even got to the semi-finals, but got eliminated by their old nemesis and the eventual champions, Real Madrid.

The next season, Barcelona came back to the competition and surprisingly, eliminated Real Madrid in the round of 16. It was surprising because it ended Madrid’s dominance in Europe as they had won 5 back-to-back championships from 1955 until 1960.

Barcelona even reached the final in 1961, in only their second experience in the competition. They had to face Portugal’s champion,

Benfica

. Benfica’s manager at the time was the legendary Hungarian coach, Béla Guttmann, and Benfica was able to beat Barca 3-2 in the final match.

Barcelona’s financial situation was very bad at that moment, resulting in the club either not being able to compete very well in the domestic league or not being able to cover the costs for European travel. Thus, they were absent from the European Cup from 1961 until 1974.

They qualified for the competition for the 1974/75 season and they even reached the semi-finals but fell short against Leeds United.

Barca faced another 10 years away from the European Cup due to poor performance. They did however compete during 4 campaigns in the UEFA Cup (what we today call, UEFA Europe League) but never won it.

After this 10-year absence, they entered the competition for the 85/86 season. They successfully went to the finals and were to play against Steaua Bucharest on May 7th at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, after defeating Sparta Prague, Porto, Juventus, and Göteborg in the knockout stages.

Unfortunately for Barca, they lost the finals once again, this time in the penalty shoot-outs that strangely ended 2-0 after 8 penalty shots.

In 1988, Johan Cruyff returned to the club, this time as manager and he assembled what would later be dubbed the "Dream Team". He used a mix of Spanish players like

Pep Guardiola

, Miguel Angel Nadal, and Txiki Begiristain while signing international players such as

Ronald Koeman

, Michael Laudrup, Romário, and Hristo Stoichkov.

With this squad, Barcelona finally was able to win their first-ever European cup. This was the last final before the competition was re-branded as the Champions League. Barcelona won the game 1–0 after extra time, thanks to a Ronald Koeman free-kick, to record their first triumph in the competition.

It was the first to have a group stage involving the eight second-round winners split into two groups, and the winner of each one met in the final. In doing so, they became the second Spanish club to win the tournament and the 19th overall.

Road to the 2nd title:

The second title of Barcelona is described in this part of the

Barcelona Champions League history

. Only two years after their first championship, Barcelona had the chance to win the second one in Olympic Stadium, but they were battered 4-0 by Fabio Capello’s side of AC Milan.

After the departure of Cruyff, the club went through yet another 10-year drought in the Champions League finals.

During these ten years, they were not even qualified for the competition twice in 1996 and 2003. Their overall performance well enough only two years in the years 2000 and 2002, in which they reached the semi-finals but were eliminated by the countryside teams,

Valencia

and Real Madrid, respectively.

Finally, in the 2005/06 season, Barcelona was able to break the curse. Just like in 1992, they had a great coach from the Netherlands, Frank Rijkaard, and they had world-class talented players such as Carles Puyol, Deco, Xavi,

Samuel Eto'o

, and most importantly the superstar of the team and Ballon d’Or winner, Ronaldinho.

They had a phenomenal group stage performance in group C of the competition. They won 5 games and drew one, collecting 16 points and qualifying for the knockout stage as group leaders, while scoring 16 goals and conceding only 2 in those 6 group matches.

In the round of 16 of the competition, Barcelona had to face Chelsea, who was then starting to pick a name for themselves in English football. The game ended 3-2 on aggregate and Barca, thanks to their comeback at Stamford Bridge, had a rather easy game at Camp Nou to seal their spot in the quarter-finals.

There, Barca was facing Benfica, another easy opponent compared to other giants that Barca smoothly won 2-0 on aggregate; a goalless draw in Portugal, followed by a two-goal win in Spain. Eto’o and Ronaldinho scored the goals.

After that and in the semi-finals, AC Milan stood against them. Thanks to Ludovic Giuly’s goal at San Siro, Barca won the first leg, and in the second leg, Barca’s defense was very successful to stop Milan’s attacks and finally celebrating their victory in front of their 95000 fans.

The 2006 UEFA Champions League Final was between Barcelona and

Arsenal

of England at the Stade de France in Paris, France, on Wednesday, 17 May 2006.

Barcelona was appearing in their fifth final, while it was Arsenal's first final appearance and the first appearance by a club from London. Arsenal won their group to move into the knockout stage and progressed without conceding a goal against Real Madrid, Juventus, and Villarreal, respectively.

The game began and a crowd of 79,500 watched as Jens Lehmann was sent off 18 minutes after the kick-off in a very controversial decision. Despite this setback, Arsenal took the lead through Sol Campbell towards the end of the first half.

After an hour, they came back to win 2–1 after

Henrik Larsson

came on for Barcelona and was involved in both of their goals. Barcelona equalized through Samuel Eto'o near the end of the second half, and a few minutes later, Juliano Belletti scored to give Barcelona their winning goal.

This was Barcelona's first European Cup victory in 14 years after they won the European Cup in 1992 for the first time.

Road to the 3rd title:

To know more about the

Barcelona Champions League history

, the club’s road to the 3rd title is described in this section.

Barcelona was unfortunate in the following two years after their second UCL title and they were eliminated by eventual finalist, Liverpool in 2007, and eventual champions,

Manchester United

in 2008. But this was only the beginning of Barcelona’s glory in the Champions League.

Barcelona B youth manager Pep Guardiola took over Frank Rijkaard's duties at the end of the 2007/08 season and brought with him the now famous tiki-taka style of play he had been taught during his time in the Barcelona youth teams.

In the process, Guardiola sold

Ronaldinho

and Deco and started building the Barcelona team around Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, and Lionel Messi, one of the best trios in the history of football.

Barcelona had a dream season during the 2008/09 season; Barça beat Athletic Bilbao 4–1 in the 2009 Copa del Rey Final, winning the competition for a record-breaking 25th time. They also, ensured that Barcelona became 2008–09 La Liga champions 3 weeks before the end of the season.

The last monster to beat was Manchester United in the Champions League final on 27 May 2009 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. It was a revenge game for Barcelona because Manchester United eliminated them last year in the semi-finals.

It was also the first time we saw the two greatest players in the history of football, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, had to fight face-to-face in a final.

With their third-place finish in the 2007–08 La Liga, Barcelona entered the 2008–09 Champions League in the third qualifying round. Based on their UEFA coefficient, Barcelona was seeded for the third qualifying round draw, and drawn against Polish champions Wisła Kraków, a game Barcelona won easily to be in the group C of the competition.

Four wins and a draw at home to Basel placed Barcelona on top of their group as qualifiers for the first knockout round. They pounded Lyon and

Bayern Munich

on their road to the semi-finals as they won those matches, 6-3 and 5-1 on aggregate, respectively.

Barcelona faced Chelsea in the semi-finals and after two hard-fought battles, Barcelona won the game due to a dramatic late goal by Andres Iniesta that tied the game at 1-1 at Stamford Bridge and Barcelona was able to qualify to the finals because of the away goal rule. A game that was later faced a lot of critics due to poor officiating.

United started the final very good and they pushed Barca back but Barcelona scored early in the 10th minute; Xavi passed the ball to

Andrés Iniesta

, the Spaniard exchanged extra passes with Lionel Messi, then played the ball into the path of Samuel Eto'o in the Manchester United penalty area and the Cameroonian striker toe-poked the ball past Van der Sar.

After the goal, Barcelona had more control of the game thanks to their midfielders’ rotation and Messi’s genius. They could easily transfer the ball from defense into offense and create chances and shoot the ball while Sir Alex Fergusen’s side of Manchester United wanted to play their classic wide and open style.

The game was balanced in the second half and Manchester was trying to force a tie but it was Braca once again who blew the strike; The ball broke to Xavi on the edge of the box, who crossed for Messi to send a looping header over the United goalkeeper and into the far side of the goal for a two-goal lead.

The game ended with these two goals and Barcelona finished their season by completing the first-ever treble won by a Spanish team.

Road to the 4th title:

Barca, under Guardiola, went on to win the other 3 trophies available to them (Supercopa de España, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup due to their treble) and win all 6 possible trophies in a calendar year for the first time in the history of modern football, an honor that later was repeated by Bayern Munich in 2020 under

Hansi Flick

.

In the Champions League, Barcelona entered the 2009/10 campaign as title defenders. They were seeded in group F with Inter Milan, Rubin Kazan, and Dynamo Kyiv. As predicted, they advanced to the knockout phase without a problem, gathering 11 points from 3 wins and 2 draws.

Inter Milan’s head coach at the time was Jose Mourinho and he had a few harsh things to say about Barcelona and Pep Guardiola in press conferences, specifically on how referees make bios decisions when it comes to Barca matches in favor of them, and a lot of football fans consider that year to be the root of the rivalry between these two great managers.

In the knockout stage, Barcelona faced the German team, Stuttgart, first. Despite a 1-1 draw in the first leg that had Barcelona fans worried, Barca went to work on the second leg at Camp Nou and delivered an almost perfect performance to demise the German team’s hope with a 4-0 win.

Then, they had to face Arsenal in the quarter-final. Again, Barca finished the first leg with a draw, this time with the result being 2-2.

The second leg was again at Camp Nou, and the game started with an early goal for Arsenal as Bendtner scored in the 18th minute, but

Lionel Messi

took matters into his own hands and scored 4 goals, singlehandedly smashing Arsenal and sending them home to London. Barca was in the semi-finals and the draws showed they had to play against Mourinho’s Inter Milan, once again.

As usual, Mourinho started the game in the press conferences and talked about how Barca is strong not only inside the pitch but also outside of it. Nevertheless, both teams got ready for the game equally.

The first leg was played at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in Milan and while Barcelona dominated the possession, it was Inter that won the game 3-1. Barcelona was forced to score at least 2 goals in the second leg and when Thiago Motta was sent off in the 30th minute, it didn’t look that hard of a job for Barcelona.

But Inter’s heroic defense, hold Barca at 1-0, thus Barcelona was dethroned by Inter, who went on to win the 2010 Champions League winners.

The next season, however, Barca came to conquer Europe, again. They were in group D of the competition and qualified easily with 4 wins and 2 draws, scoring 14 goals while conceding only 3.

To reach the final, in the knockout phase Barcelona beat Arsenal, again; this time in more balanced games that ended with Barca winning 4-3 on aggregate. Then, they faced Shakhtar Donetsk, a rather easy opponent for the mighty Catalans.

Barcelona almost closed the game in the first leg as they smashed Shakhtar 5-1 at Camp Nou, followed by a 1-0 away win. The semi-finals were the real test for Barcelona. Real Madrid was waiting for them with their new manager,

Jose Mourinho

.

It was time for another El Clásico derby, this time in the Champions League. After two absolutely beautiful matches, it was Barcelona that came out victorious 3-1 on aggregate, thanks to their little Argentinean magician, Lionel Messi.

The final was contested by Barcelona of Spain and Manchester United of England, the same teams which contested 2009 final held in Rome which Barcelona won 2–0. The venue, the new Wembley Stadium, hosted its first European Cup final.

Both teams entered the competition having won it three times previously, Manchester United in 1968, 1999, and 2008; Barcelona in 1992, 2006, and 2009. Barcelona started the match with Pep’s favorite 4-3-3 and

Sir Alex Fergusen

stock with his classic 4-4-2. In 2009, Barcelona won 2-0 but it was an even match if you look at the statistics.

But in 2011, Barcelona dominated every possible category. They had 63% of the ball as opposed to United’s 37%, Barca shot 19 shoots that 12 were on target as opposed to United shot 4 shots and only 1 was on target, and the list can go on.

Ultimately, Barcelona won the match 3-1 and was crowned Europe’s champions once again. Barcelona’s goals came from Pedro, Lionel Messi, and David Villa, securing their fourth Champions League title.

Road to the 5th title:

Guardiola, who had been on a rolling contract and had faced criticism over his recent tactics and squad selections, announced that he would step down as manager on 30 June and be succeeded by assistant Tito Vilanova.

Following the departure of Guardiola, Barcelona sort of lost its touch in the Champions League. Although Barcelona’s Champions league squad, having Iniesta, Xavi, and most importantly Messi can make any team cry after facing Barcelona, they still lacked the decisiveness to go to another UCL final.

Barcelona started the 2011/12 season very strong in the Champions League and qualified as group leaders with 16 points. They continued their promising performances in the knockout stage, too.

They demolished Bayer Leverkusen 10-2 on aggregate, 3-1 in Germany, and 7-1 at Camp Nou. During the away game, Lionel Messi set a record for scoring the most goals in a single game with 5 goals. Europe was well-deservingly afraid of Barcelona at the time.

They faced Milan in the quarter-finals and won the Italian giants 3-1 in the second leg, after a goalless first leg. But in the semis, Barcelona faced a wall. That wall was named

Chelsea

.

Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea’s coach at the time came up with a very clear anti-football formation. They were basically playing 6-3-1 in defense and waited for Barcelona to lose the ball so they can counterattack.

This tactic, no matter how ugly, worked very well and Chelsea was able to beat Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate and go to the final match, where they won against Bayern Munich in penalties.

Barcelona was trying really hard to prove themselves once again during the 2012/13 season. They won their group again but looked a little shaky in the knockout phase.

They faced Milan in the round of 16, and despite losing the first leg 2-0 at San Siro, Barca bounced back and won the next game 4-0 at Camp Nou to send Milan home. Next stop, they had to face French champions,

Paris Saint-Germain

.

Barcelona was lucky enough that UEFA hadn’t canceled the away goal rule yet then, because after two matches the result was 3-3 on aggregate and Barcelona was named the winners because they scored more goals at Parc des Princes.

Barcelona went on to play Bayern Munich in the semi-finals and for the first time in many years, Barcelona was totally vanquished. A 4-0 loss in Munich followed by a 3-0 loss in Spain and making it 7-0 on aggregate was unbelievable to any Barca fan at the time.

The following season, Barcelona acquired Neymar, who was considered a Brazilian talent at the time, and appointed the Argentinian manager, Gerardo "Tata" Martino as their head coach and thought the problems were solved. Sadly, for Barca, Tata Martino was not the solution but the problem itself. Barca went trophyless for the first time since the 2007/08 season.

Also, it was the first time in 6 years that they couldn’t reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. They won Group H of the competition with 13 points.

Then faced

Manchester City

and eliminated them 4-1 on aggregate, but fell short against Atletico Madrid and lost 2-1 on aggregate to the eventual finalists of that year.

Barcelona appointed Luis Enrique, a former youth team coach, as their new head coach at the start of the 2014/15 season, in the hope to reminisce the Guardiola era for them, and it worked like a charm. Barcelona also acquired Luis Suárez from Liverpool to strengthen its attack.

Barcelona's attacking trio of Messi, Suárez, and

Neymar

, dubbed "MSN", scored 122 goals in all competitions, the most in a season for an attacking trio in Spanish football history, that year. Barcelona eventually repeated their treble at the end of that season.

In the Champions League, they started their journey in group F and won the group for the 6th consecutive season as they clinched the knockout stage. There, they faced their last season’s opponent in this stage, Manchester City, once again.

And they eliminated them, once again, this time 3-1 on aggregate. Next, they faced PSG in the quarter-finals and they were able to go through them very smoothly after a 3-1 away and a 2-0 home win in this round.

In the semi-finals, they had to face Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich. Fans felt the fear of being humiliated once again in Europe against German champions but this time, Enrique and his men were successful and they won Bayern 5-3 on aggregate.

Messi’s second goal in the first match at Camp Nou as he dribbled past Boateng to chip Manuel Neuer is one the best goals ever to be scored on the Champions League semi-final stage. Their last opponent was Juventus, who beat Real Madrid to come to the final.

The 60th season of Europe's premier club football tournament was organized by UEFA as played at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany, on 6 June 2015, between Italian side Juventus and Spanish side Barcelona.

For the second time – after 2010 – both teams came into the final with the possibility of winning a continental treble, having each won their national league and cup for the season.

Barcelona played with their usual 4-3-3 with the MSN trio in front and Juventus’s manager,

Massimiliano Allegri

decided to play with his favorite, 4-4-2 diamond with Morata and Tevez upfront.

Barcelona scored the only goal of the first half after four minutes, through Ivan Rakitić. Ten minutes after the interval, Juventus equalized with a goal by

Álvaro Morata

. In the 68th minute, Luis Suárez put Barcelona back in the lead, and the final score of 3–1 was confirmed when Neymar scored with the last kick of the game.

It was Barcelona's fifth trophy in the competition and sealed their second treble. It was also Juventus' sixth defeat in a European Cup final, the most by any club, a record they previously shared with Bayern Munich and Benfica.

This was Barcelona’s last Champions League title, to this date, and

Barcelona Champions League results

were not successful at all from then on during this competition but they hope to be one of the contenders as soon as possible with the help of their new young coach and former two-time treble winner, Xavi. Whether they can do it again or not, we shall see.

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source: SportMob

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