The remarkable success Barcelona have enjoyed since 2008, when Pep Guardiola entered the Camp Nou hot seat, means the Frank Rijkaard side of 2003-2008 probably doesn’t get the respect it deserves.
They were a wonderful team to watch, blessed with talent in all areas of the pitch, but they weren’t just entertainers – they were winners, too.
Under Rijkaard’s management, Barça won La Liga in 2005 and 2006. They also ended the club’s 14-year wait for the European Cup by winning the 2006 Champions League final in Paris.
In 2007, Barcelona boasted a formidable starting line-up featuring the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, a young Lionel Messi and a peak Ronaldinho.
And back on May 5 2007, a Barcelona XI featuring those six players plus Victor Valdes, Giovani van Bronckhorst, Gianluca Zambrotta, Edmilson and Lillian Thuram achieved something that no other Barça XI has managed since.
LAST BARCELONA XI TO WIN AT ANOETA
In case you haven’t already guessed it, the featured Barcelona team were the last Barcelona XI to win at Anoeta – home of Real Sociedad.
Second-half goals from Iniesta and Eto’o secured the Catalan giants all three points.
Eidur Gudjohnsen and Oleguer also featured for the visitors that night from the subs’ bench.
BARCELONA DREW 1-1 AT ANOETA ON SUNDAY NIGHT
On Sunday evening, Barcelona kept up their horrible run of form at La Real’s home ground by holding Luis Enrique’s men to a 1-1 draw.
Willian Jose opened the scoring for the home side in the 53rd minute before Messi levelled the scores six minutes later.
Real Sociedad should have secured all three points for the match and would have done had Juanmi’s 77th-minute tap-in not been incorrectly ruled out for offside.
BARÇA SIX POINTS BEHIND MADRID AHEAD OF EL CLASICO
Following this weekend’s results, Barça now find themselves six points behind league-leaders Real Madrid who kept up their impressive recent run of form with a 2-1 win over Sporting Gijon at the Bernabeu.
And Los Blancos are the next team Barcelona face in La Liga.
That’s right: it’s the first Clasico of the season next Saturday afternoon.
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