Is This The Worst Barcelona Side Of Many, Many Years?

Barcelona's success story

If someone was to tell you that the current Barcelona side, which features players such as Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta, Cesc Fàbregas, Neymar, Xavi and Javier Mascherano was the worst Barcelona team of many, many years, you would think they were insane.

But the current Chelsea FC manager Jose Mourinho has recently come out with such comments before Barcelona’s first legged tie against Manchester City:

“Of course by history Barcelona is the favourite, but this Barcelona this season, is showing that it is not the same in previous years. Of course they have Messi, he is special, and they have more than him. But I think this is the worst Barcelona of many, many years – so City have a chance.”

After such comments, many people would have questioned the sanity of that person, with Jose Mourinho it’s viewed as mind games. I have looked at the last ten seasons of Barcelona FC and viewed to see if Mourinho is correct with his comments or that he should be taken away in a straight jacket.

To see what Mourinho meant be his comments, I’ve looked at how they’ve finished in the league, points collected, goals scored, goals conceded, trophies won, top goal scorers and finally, how many players made the team of the year. Let’s start at the most simplistic view of anything in football, position finished:

Year Points Position Finished
2003/2004 72  Second
2004/2005 84 First
2005/2006 82 First
2006/2007 76 Second
2007/2008 67 Third
2008/2009 87 First
2009/2010 99 First
2010/2011 96 First
2011/2012 91 Second
2012/2013 100 First
2013/2014 63* Second*

*Current points and position

As we can only speculate what will happen in this season I have calculated the amount of points Barcelona have gotten already to how many they will projected, it’s only an estimation.

Ten seasons in total, they have finished first six times, second three (four depending on the end of this season) and third once. Based on just league position alone 2007/08 season was the worst season Barcelona has had in the past ten seasons. They also had the lowest amount of points in the same season with 67. The most recent season of 2012/13 saw them collect the most points with a very impressive 100.

To fully see if Mourinho is right or wrong, let’s move on to the next table of goals scored and conceded:

Year Goals Scored Goals Conceded  Goal Difference
2003/2004 63 39 +24
2004/2005 73 29 +44 29 +44
2005/2006 80 35 +45 35 +45
2006/2007 78 33 +45 33 +45
2007/2008 76 43 +33 43 +33
2008/2009  105 35 +70 35 +70
2009/2010 98 24 +74 24 +74
2010/2011 95 21 +74 21 +74
2011/2012  114 29 +86 29 +86
2012/2013 115 40 +75 40 +75
2013/2014 74* (108) 21* (30) +53* (+78)

 

*Current goals scored and conceded

As the first table shown, estimations can only be given for the current season, calculating how many they’ve scored and conceded so far, a prediction is made into what the final result will look like.

The season where Barcelona had scored the least amount of goals was the 2003/04 season, most goals conceded was the 2007/08 season and the overall worst goal difference was again, the 2003/04 season. Overall the worst season Barcelona had with regards to goals was the 2003/04 season, ten years ago. With 2007/08 showing up again, it isn’t looking great for Mourinho.

As for the best, 2012/13 saw the most goals scored with an incredible 115 (that’s four goals a game), 2010/11 saw the least amount of goals conceded with 21 and 2011/12 saw the best goal difference of +86.

Now to look into trophies won in that season, the table will show how far the progressed in the Champions League final and Copa Del Rey:

Year Champions League  Copa Del Rey
2003/2004 Did not Qualify Quarter Finals
2004/2005 First Round Knockout Round of 64
2005/2006  Champions Quarter Finals
2006/2007 First Round Knockout Semi Finals
2007/2008 Semi Finals Semi Finals
2008/2009  Champions Champions
2009/2010 Semi Finals Round of Sixteen
2010/2011 Champions Second Place
2011/2012  Semi Finals Champions
2012/2013 Semi Finals Semi Finals
2013/2014 Round of Sixteen (TBC Reached the final (TBD)

The worst season for Barcelona regarding trophies is the 2004/05 season as they finished the lowest they ever had in the ten years, being eliminated in the first knockout rounds to Chelsea FC (managed by Jose Mourinho) and being eliminated by UDA Gramenet, a third division side in the round of 64.

The best season for Barcelona was clearly the 2008/09 season where they won both competitions plus the league, completing the treble and being the only Spanish side to have done so.

Now to move on to the best goal scorer:

Year Top Goal Scorer Team
2003/2004 Ronaldo (24) Real Madrid
2004/2005 Diego Forlan/Samuel Eto’o (25) Villareal/Barcelona
2005/2006  Samuel Eto’o (26) Barcelona
2006/2007 Ruud van Nistelrooy (25) Real Madrid
2007/2008 Daniel Güiza (27) Mallorca
2008/2009  Diego Forlan (32) Athletico Madrid
2009/2010  Lionel Messi (34) Barcelona
2010/2011 Cristiano Ronaldo (41) Real Madrid
2011/2012   Lionel Messi (50) Barcelona
2012/2013 Lionel messi (46) Barcelona
2013/2014 Cristiano Ronaldo (23)(33) Real Madrid

Barcelona feature five times in the list, the most out of any team in the past ten seasons. The past two seasons has seen the same player finish top goal scorer twice and same again in the 2004/2005 season. The worst period they had was from 2006 to 2009 where they had no players featured.

Finally, to complete the findings, how many Barcelona featured in the UEFA team of the year:

Year Barcelona Players
2003/2004 0
2004/2005 1
2005/2006 3
2006/2007 4
2007/2008 1
2008/2009 3
2009/2010 6
2010/2011 6
2011/2012 5
2012/2013 4

As the current season isn’t over, we can’t put the current season down.

Only one season has featured no players in the past ten seasons; 2003/04. The best season is 2009/10 and 2010/11 where they featured six players, quite remarkable when you think only eleven players can be in the team.

So using all the findings, this is how Barcelona has been from best to worst in the past ten seasons:

Best League position/points collected:

2012/2013

Goals scored/ goals conceded:

2011/2012

Trophies:

2008/2009

Best goal scorer:

2011/2012 – Lionel Messi with 50 goals

Most featured players in Team of the Year:

2009/2010 and 2010/2011 – 6 players

Worst

League position/points collected:

2007/2008

Goals scored/goals conceded:

2007/2008

Trophies:

2004/2005

Worst goal scorer:

2006 to 2009 no players featured

Least featured players in Team of the Year:

2003/2004 season- 0 players

As a collective total, you can argue that the worst Barcelona team is the 2007/2008 having the lowest league position of third, the lowest points in a season, winning nothing and only having one player featured in the UEFA Team of the Year (Eric Abidal). The players that played that season include Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi Thierry Henry, Deco, Yaya Toura and Gianluca Zambrotta, quite the team.

The comments were clearly made by Jose Mourinho to defend his failure with Real Madrid, having only won the league once and Copa Del Rey once in his three seasons in charge, to comment on Barcelona by saying the team he faced was the best, and now the worst it makes his own job look a lot better than it did, very clever but also quite easy to debunk.

Manuel Pellegrini, current Manchester City manager backed Mourinho’s comments about Barcelona before their first leg match:

“I don’t have any fear about playing Barcelona, because this team has got to continue to develop the mentality to play against important, important teams, whether that’s in the last 16, the quarter-final. It’s impossible to avoid Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich if you want to continue in the Champions League.

So in one moment you must play against them. We play them in the last 16, so let’s see what we can do.”

Having lost the first leg to Barcelona at home 2-0, both comments have been made to look foolish and show that the current Barcelona squad, despite not being the best is clearly not the worst of many, many years.

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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