A day like today in 2015, Barça beat Juventus by 3–1 in the Champions League final to complete an unparalleled second treble in the club’s history. But what made that team so remarkable?
Self belief, assurance, and conviction: the three ideals that made Barça stand out during its dominant reign of Luis Enrique, starting from the 2014/15 season. No matter how strenuous the circumstances were, the blaugranas always emerged successful, and it was simply their unequalled desire to prevail that made Lucho’s side so untouchable. Any attempt made to break down the club’s spirit or pride would just end in vain for oppositions as Barcelona would relentlessly agonise teams with their awe-inspiring mentality.
During Barça’s historic treble-winning 14/15 campaign, the club had to go through some severe hardships. Things didn’t go in Luis Enrique’s favour from the very first minute as there were clearly issues in the squad that needed to be dealt with. However, while the Spaniard suffered some major setbacks at the start of his course, once he was able to maintain a rhythm, he never let go of it. His mesmerising attack would brutalise forces, and he constantly encouraged playing in the same manner he started the season off with.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar Júnior. The MSN, a trio that terrorised the best defences | Photo by Lluis Gene / AFP via Getty Images
Although he experimented with his formations, his initiative to play direct and attacking football never faded away. He was determined to get results with his own philosophy and the moment the team clicked, games were practically considered over before they had even begun.
Once the club got in its groove and started building a reputable status, even the mightiest teams from Europe would crumble in front of the Catalans. Tactically, the club contained various flaws and was far from being picture perfect in all three departments, but the lionhearted mentality that Luis Enrique had instilled in everyone eventually got them past the finish line.
❛ Half-jokingly, I asked the players: ‘What is the worst thing that could happen to us today?’ The veterans gave answers like ‘to not to be faithful to our style’. I said: ‘The worst thing that could happen to you today is to be a Juventus player and have to face Barça’ ❜
on how he motivated Barcelona before the 2015 Champions League final against Juventus
That arrogance is what made Barça so special and, currently, it’s the one thing the current team lacks the most. In terms of tactics and technicality, Barcelona are arguably head and shoulders above everyone in the league. But besides the technical aspects of football, the azulgranas are gravely deprived of vanity. Overburdening your ego will hurt you one way or another, but at the same time, showing a lack of swagger will also lead to your demise. And that’s what Barça are currently experiencing: an insufficient amount of pride.
To represent the prestigious Barcelona crest, one must be gleaming and standing a cut above everyone else. Even so, the club has unfortunately been caught in this cycle of misery where it continually fall prey to its own deficiency of confidence.
The Catalans were obviously feared for possessing the most talented players, but along with that, it was most dreaded for its unparalleled self-esteem. Barça practiced its philosophy with so much conviction that it made fans believe that what they did was invariably right.
Current manager Quique Setién has countless challenges he must deal with in order to bring this side back to where it once belonged, but his biggest test will undoubtedly be injecting that sense of pride and honour in these players. Quique needs to ensure his way of playing leaves no doubts in the footballers’ heads so they know that what they are doing is the only way they will be able to dominate.