Skip to main content

Ruiz, Michels, Tort, Cruyff, Guardiola.. The Best Is Yet To Come


On 23 December 2000 Real Madrid won the Fifa club of the 20th century. Winning 31 La Ligas, and 9 European cups is certainly not an easy task, and a feat that not many teams will ever be able to achieve. Something that makes us Cules a bit frustrated. But rest assured, we have much to be proud of, and more to be looking forward to.

Pep Guardiola's unprecedented success during the past 4 season has been a breath of fresh air, and something to be proud off. His 13 titles (hopefully 14 by 25 may) are nothing short of historic. Pep not only gave us something to cheer about, a team full of legendary players, a football philosophy that has been the club's identity for several years now, he also gave us the bragging rights over Real Madrid fans.

Before Laporta's reign we have always been in Madrid's shadow, coming second best in almost all competitions. But now we are so good that when our team draws a game, alarm bells are rung. We are so good that when we beat Milan in the quarter finals of a champions league, we get harassed for failing to score on their turf. We are so good that, when Chelsea manages to shoot 2 times on target in Stamford
bridge while playing Drogba as a left back for an entire 90 minutes we are pictured as the conquered. this has been the case for the past couple of years. But what was it like before?


Every Culture, every club has an icon, an idol, that represents what it stands for. Well we have many. Aside from the many legends that passed through our club, the Catalan identity, the Seny, we have a clear football philosophy, a gem that was polished and improved throughout the years. It's something that we will always build upon and successfully reap it results.

Laureano Ruiz once said (addressing an ex-barca youth coach): “Let us say that you and I coach two teams with kids that are 10, 11, and 12 years old and all are about equally good. You try to teach them to play good football, a passing game and with tactical basics while I tell mine to only play long balls and try to shoot. I can assure you that [at first] I will always win against you, by using your mistakes. Break a bad pass and goal. If we however continue with the same training methods during a three year period, you will most likely win every game against us. Your players will have learned how to play while mine haven’t.

That’s how easy it is.” His expression defines our football today, we have learned, improved, and enhanced the way football is played. Our much revered La Masia has been a revelation in graduating gifted youngsters. players are encouraged to think, think, and think more before acting, on, and off the field. Generation after generation we started to yield smarter, and more versatile players.

Rinus Michels imported his "Total Football" to Barcelona, the football that depends on generalists instead of position players, where a players could and should be able to play on any part of the pitch. The importance of this system lies in the off-the-ball movement that was able to free space for the man with the ball in order to spring passes and dictate play.


Michel's protagonist was Cruyff who would later become a legendary coach at the club. Cruyff's versatility allowed him to roam all around the pitch freeing space for his fellow teammates, not sticking to one part of the pitch, searching for the place that he would be able to inflict damage to oppositions, and his teammates would adapt themselves to his movements (does that remind you of Messi now? and Pep's system of play?). But the story and evolution of "total football" was to be later developed and perfected.

When a team plays in a successful way- a way that yields titles- for so long, opposing teams will sooner rather than later find the antidote. That's why evolution is always required. Kind of the same way Pep tried this year to shift our style of play from the glorious 4-3-3 to the 3-4-3 only to be criticized by some.

Back to our sequence of successes. La Masia is now named Centro de Formacion Oriol Tort. A man who was poised on searching for young talents, way before La Masia was there. A man who discovered Don Andres, Busi, Albert Ferrer, Sergi, Barjuan, and many more. "Oriol Tort was a wise man. There aren't any more left like him. he would come in to the club and work for hours until he had done what he needed to. Because of people like him, we are where we are today"

Josep Guardiola. An average man, humble and in love with football that he made it his daily mission to work and search for young, unrecognized talents. He passed away before witnessing Guardiola's success, but now he is surely watching from above with a smile.

When Johan Cruyff was appointed by Josep Lluis Nunez, he embarked on a mission of improving Michel's "Total football". He successfully started filling the gaps, in ways that emphasized on players replacing each other, where if a player moves from right to left, another player has to fill in at right, in order for the team not to lose its organizational structure. Every players has to be a defender, a midfielder and an attacker. He went on to lift 11 titles.

Guardiola has always been a quick learner, a wise man who was taught to think before acting, improving mistakes, and studying opponents closely. He always looked up to his predecessors, and tried to better what they already did. Before taking control of this legendary squad, he travelled to Argentina and had a 4 hours barbeque lunch with Marcelo Bielsa, then went to Holland and met with Johan Cruyff. How much do you think these two meetings benefited him in his successful journey?

Pep perfected the 4-4-3 system in his first 3 years, stressing on the importance of expanding play, using the width of the pitch wisely, pressing from the front, off-the-ball movements, and triangles passing. These were the components of Barca's latest success. He always said: "We defend like crap, but if we hold the ball for 70% of the time we would never need to defend". We saw Pedro, Messi, and Iniesta defend more than Pique and Puyol, winning the ball back before it reached our territory. These were the impetus for his trophy-filled 4 years.

And the rest is history..



Real Madrid might have won the team of the century, but a quick look to the past 20-22 years: we won 11 La Ligas they won 7, we won 3 Copa Del Rey (and in contention for a 4th) they won 2, we won 4 UEFA Champions Leagues they won 3, we won 9 Spanish Supercopas they won 6.

Here's a little something to inspire you:



Barcelona's best is yet to come.

Wait for it.
Posted by: Hassan Chakroun, Columnist at  'Blaugrana Insight'

Comments

  1. Thank you for the article Hassan, and welcome to the Barcablog family.

    I really enjoyed reading your article, it was a clear look back in time, a remarkable way to pay tribute to Barcelona heroes, past and present.

    Looking forward to more Barca success in the future!!

    What do you think about Tito Vilanova's appointment as coach?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous7.5.12

    Great article,

    Barca's legacy will be greater than Real Madrid's. A philosophy dedicated to entertain the masses with uncompromising attacking total football is more important than winning trophies. The likes of Mourinho constantly fail to understand this.

    As for Cruijff, thank God he is now heavily involved at Ajax again, trying to re-establish some of the glory of total football Ajax is well-known for. It will be difficult in this age of big money where the Eredivisie is not one of the big leagues.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hassan Chakroun7.5.12

    Thank YOU Mr Tomas,

    I think Tito's appointment is The best solution given the circumstances, although I was opting for Bielsa. But again, next year is supposed to be a transitional period after Pep's departure, and a familiar face in the dressing room is always better than a new Boss with new ideas, approach, and tactics. I personally have a soft spot for homegrown characters, whether in the playing or the coaching staff. They always have a better chance of achieving, since they have all the insight and know the whereabouts of the club. And given that Tito has been Pep's right hand man for 5 successful years, he must have the Barca DNA in him. Whether he will be able to dominate and understand the dressing room the way Guardiola managed to do is still to be seen. But I personally think that he will succeed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks. For me Barca more than football. The art of football. beautyfull arts.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks. For me Barca more than football. The art of football. beautyfull arts.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Paulinho can be an unexpectedly great partner for Lionel Messi

Paulinho landed at Barcelona after the Blaugranas agreed to pay his whopping €40 million release clause to his previous club, Guangzhou Evergrande from the Chinese Super League. After weeks of endless speculation and an even more significant amount of negative opinions from the vast majority of fans and media, it is clear that the Brazilian was going to face plenty of adversity as soon as he landed at the Camp Nou.

While it is obviously still early days in the season, Paulinho is slowly but surely establishing himself not only as a valid player for Barcelona, but also a real contender to break into Ernesto Valverde's starting lineup on a weekly basis. The Brazilian international's two goals in his last two matches have certainly contributed to Barcelona's impressive start to their La Liga campaign and, judging by his effective performance against Eibar, his presence in the team is very likely to remain a constant for the remainder of the season.

As our The Barcelona Podca…

Can Messi surpass his best ever Barcelona season? Valverde influence and Catalan referendum [TBPod35]

The Barcelona Podcast duo discuss Lionel Messi's staggering form after a four goal performance, Ernesto Valverde's early success as Barcelona manager, an update on the vote of no confidence and the Catalan referendum. Episode 35 of 'The Barcelona Podcast' is finally here!

Running Order:

Who are the 5 Star Players from the 6-1 victory over Eibar?

How is Ernesto Valverde getting the best out of the likes of Paulinho and Denis Suarez?

How is Messi thriving as a 'False 9' this season?

Why are there contradicting messages coming from the doctors and Ousmane Dembele?

Where are we with the vote of no confidence signatures?

Is it too early start thinking about how the Catalan referendum could affect the club?

If you enjoy the podcast and want to be part of it, why not show your support? Learn more at http://TBPod.link/Patreon -- Moltes gràcies!

What did you think about this episode? Leave a comment via Twitter or Facebook and debate with Francesc, Dan and the rest of …

Can Paulinho become Barcelona's next best Brazilian?

FC Barcelona have for some time now had a connection with players playing for the Canarinha, and 29-year-old Paulinho is the latest in that line.

From Evaristo de Macedo to Romario, Rivaldo and Ronaldo to Ronaldinho and Neymar, Brazilian forwards have excelled in the Blaugrana shirt. In recent years, Dani Alves, Silvinho and Adriano have proved that full-back is a position where Brazilians can succeed at the Camp Nou as well. Yet, midfielder has never been a position where Barcelona has had a ton of success with their Brazilian imports. Edmilson may be the standout example, but that one name alone pales in comparison to the rest.

It is too early to christen Paulinho the next great Brazilian at Barcelona, but so far the early returns indicate that he could strengthen the history of that position in Catalonia. The caveat after his transfer to Spain was whether or not he could replicate his performances with the Canarinho, and the
'Barcelona Podcast' duo delved into how Ernesto …

Lionel Messi thrashes Eibar to extend Barcelona's perfect start in La Liga | Quick Reaction and Player Ratings

Barcelona achieved a comfortable 6-1 victory against Eibar at the Camp Nou in Matchday 5 of La Liga. Although the game was not spectacular, Barca's effectiveness upfront was the decisive factor that unbalanced the game in the Blaugranas' favour.

As it could not be any different, the ever-present Lionel Messi stole the show once again. The Argentinean star continued to excel in the False 9 role that Ernesto Valverde has granted him, taking full advantage of the many fluid partnerships he is now capable to build from his more central position. As surprisingly as it may sound to most, Messi's constant linking with Paulinho was actually one of the highlights of Barca's attacking transitions.

With Luis Suarez remaining an unused substitute, Barcelona's newly arrived manager decided to trust both Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu as wingers and, given what we saw on the pitch, it is hard to disagree with his decision. Denis was influential throughout the whole game, runn…

Can Barcelona overcome the absence of Dembele? Deulofeu golden chance, Paulinho progression and Cruyff [TBPod34]

The Barcelona Podcast duo break down the disheartening Ousmane Dembele injury, provide in-depth analysis of the games against Getafe and Eibar, discuss Paulinho's role as Barca's saviour and so much more! Episode 34 of 'The Barcelona Podcast' is finally here!

Running Order:
What does Ousmane Dembele's injury mean for Barcelona?
Who could get more minutes with Dembele's injury?
Is it time to trust Paulinho?
Who are the 5 Star Players from the 2-1 win over Getafe?
How will Barcelona match up against Eibar?
What does the new stadium mean for Barcelona B and Barcelona Femeni?
Is Agusti Benedito any closer to the vote of no confidence?

If you enjoy the podcast and want to be part of it, why not show your support? Learn more at http://TBPod.link/Patreon -- Moltes gràcies!

What did you think about this episode? Leave a comment via Twitter or Facebook and debate with Francesc, Dan and the rest of our 700,000-strong FC Barcelona community.

You can also subscribe via em…

Is Messi on track to improve his best ever season at Barcelona? Valverde's tactical tweaks and Catalunya politics [TBPod35]

The Barcelona Podcast duo discuss Lionel Messi's staggering form after a four goal performance, Ernesto Valverde's early success as Barcelona manager, an update on the vote of no confidence and the Catalan referendum. Episode 35 of 'The Barcelona Podcast' is finally here!

Running Order:

Who are the 5 Star Players from the 6-1 victory over Eibar?

How is Ernesto Valverde getting the best out of the likes of Paulinho and Denis Suarez?

How is Messi thriving as a 'False 9' this season?

Why are there contradicting messages coming from the doctors and Ousmane Dembele?

Where are we with the vote of no confidence signatures?

Is it too early start thinking about how the Catalan referendum could affect the club?

If you enjoy the podcast and want to be part of it, why not show your support? Learn more at http://TBPod.link/Patreon -- Moltes gràcies!

What did you think about this episode? Leave a comment via Twitter or Facebook and debate with Francesc, Dan and the rest of …

Who's in with Ousmane Dembele out?

Ousmane Dembele has never had an issue with muscular issues in the past. That's the good news. Ernesto Valverde has come out and said that being a speedy player, it may have been his lack of experience in dealing with muscle pain to understand the severity of his condition prior to the tendon actually rupturing in the game against Getafe.

This means that Ernesto Valverde is looking at the same team sans Munir, Douglas, Sergi Samper and Marlon Santos, now all out on loan, that he had the moment that Neymar left for France. With every first team player with the exception of Rafinha currently seen as an option, Valverde will have to use the magical touch he had with Paulinho and Denis Suarez against Getafe to get the best out of his line-ups.

The 20-year-old winger may be out until 2018, so Valverde's plan to showcase the squad's depth will be on full display with games against Eibar, Girona, Sporting CP in the Champions League and Las Palmas all happening within the next tw…

Nelson Semedo only getting better for Barcelona

He may have only started three games for FC Barcelona, but the hype train for Nelson Semedo has already left the station.

A twelve minute cameo against Chapecoense AF in the Joan Gamper Trophy game got him his unofficial Barcelona debut, followed up by a forty minute appearance against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup where he looked like a player getting accustomed to his teammates.

Four days later in the La Liga opener, the Portuguese defender was given his first Barcelona start against Real Betis. He hit 94% of his passes, 52 in total, and seemed to be finding his feet on the right side.

After not featuring against Deportivo Alaves, he was given another start against Espanyol in a 5-0 trouncing of the local rival. His dribbling was less purposeful, but his defending was spot-on in controlling the right side of the field and combining well with Gerard Deulofeu. He still hit 92% of his passes and landed 78 total passes while showing his speed on a few occasions.

With the start a…

How can Barcelona replace Dembele? Paulinho steps up, Johan Cruyff stadium and Eibar [TBPod34]

The Barcelona Podcast duo break down the disheartening Ousmane Dembele injury, provide in-depth analysis of the games against Getafe and Eibar, discuss Paulinho's role as Barca's saviour and so much more! Episode 34 of 'The Barcelona Podcast' is finally here!

Running Order:
What does Ousmane Dembele's injury mean for Barcelona?
Who could get more minutes with Dembele's injury?
Is it time to trust Paulinho?
Who are the 5 Star Players from the 2-1 win over Getafe?
How will Barcelona match up against Eibar?
What does the new stadium mean for Barcelona B and Barcelona Femeni?
Is Agusti Benedito any closer to the vote of no confidence?

If you enjoy the podcast and want to be part of it, why not show your support? Learn more at http://TBPod.link/Patreon -- Moltes gràcies!

What did you think about this episode? Leave a comment via Twitter or Facebook and debate with Francesc, Dan and the rest of our 700,000-strong FC Barcelona community.

You can also subscribe via em…

Aleix Vidal becoming a victim of Nelson Semedo's excellent form for Barcelona

Aleix Vidal has been left out of the Barcelona's squad that is to play away at Getafe on Saturday for the second consecutive match -- which is disappointing given the fact that the Catalan full-back had, in theory, everything in his favour to establish himself as a regular starter this season.

As it could not be any different, Ernesto Valverde refused to make give the situation much importance when speaking to the media in the Getafe pre-match conference: "Aleix is a player who can help us in more than one position. I understand these type of questions, but it’s likely that I will have to leave one or two players out of the squad on a weekly basis. Aleix started the game against Alaves and, although, he’s not been in the squad for the last two matches, that could change at any moment. I’m happy with him and with his performances."

Undoubtedly, the incredible form that new signing Nelson Semedo has shown of late is having an detrimental effect to Vidal's playing time…