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Europe's longest domestic winning streaks

Published: Monday 7 February 2011, 9.05CET
FC Barcelona set a new Spanish record with a 16th straight Liga win at the weekend but still have a way to go to join SL Benfica's 1970s vintage at the top of the European leaderboard.

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Published: Monday 7 February 2011, 9.05CET

Europe's longest domestic winning streaks

FC Barcelona set a new Spanish record with a 16th straight Liga win at the weekend but still have a way to go to join SL Benfica's 1970s vintage at the top of the European leaderboard.

FC Barcelona made it 16 straight Liga wins with a 3-0 victory against Club Atlético de Madrid on Saturday, Lionel Messi scoring a hat-trick at Camp Nou. Josep Guardiola's side had earlier surpassed their previous best of 14 successive victories under Frank Rijkaard in the 2005/06 season, a campaign goalkeeper Víctor Valdés remembers well.

"Under Rijkaard we looked to apply a lot of pressure with a high defensive line," said the 29-year-old. "Under Pep, it works differently. We take more risks in our own half to build up play and the system works as it creates more goalscoring opportunities. Barcelona have grown so much with the arrival of our current coach because the style of play he likes takes us further than the football field; it also incorporates team values."

Having broken the Spanish record of 15 straight wins set by Real Madrid CF in 1960/61, Barcelona have also exceeded the national best totals established by FC Bayern München, AC Sparta Praha and – earlier this term – Welsh club Bangor City FC. However, they have a way to go to replicate the longest European winning streaks detailed below.

29 games – SL Benfica (Portugal) 1971-73
Still a European record, Benfica's 29-game winning sequence started at the end of one title-winning season and continued well into the next, with the Eagles lifting the 1972/73 crown without losing a game – a first in Portugal. English coach Jimmy Hagan played his part in those successes, as striker Eusébio recalled: "He liked discipline. All the players thought his training sessions were very hard physically but the team soon began to win matches and we knew it was worth it. He gave us extra strength and that was the reason we won three straight championships in that period."

28 games – NK Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) 2006-07
Eduardo, Luka Modrić and Vedran Ćorluka were among the key contributors to Dinamo's dazzling run in Croatia, which spanned a 5-1 win against NK Istra on 8 November 2006 and a 4-3 defeat at NK Varteks (now NK Varaždin) on 23 September 2007. On the eve of that fixture, coach Branko Ivanković said: "We have a great team and Dinamo are a big club. We are going to win that 29th match in a row and equal Benfica's record, so that this Dinamo generation get a place in world football history." So close, but ultimately so far.

25 games – Celtic FC (Scotland) 2003-04
Celtic attained a new British milestone of 25 consecutive league victories between 16 August 2003 and 29 February 2004, scoring 86 goals in the process as Martin O'Neill's side completed a Scottish league and cup double in what proved Henrik Larsson's final campaign at Celtic Park. "We would go on these runs and look to every game as one we could win," recalled former Celtic defender Johan Mjällby, now on the club's coaching staff. "Once a team starts winning games it's hard to stop them, especially when you had guys like Henrik, Chris Sutton and John Hartson scoring for fun."

22 games – PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) 1987-88
Having revved up with wins in their last five outings of the 1986/87 season, PSV proved unstoppable the following campaign despite losing star player Ruud Gullit that summer. Hans van Breukelen, Ronald Koeman, Eric Gerets, Berry van Aerle, Jan Heintze, Ivan Nielsen, Søren Lerby, Gerald Vanenburg, Wim Kieft and veteran Willy van de Kerkhof were awesome under then debutant coach Guus Hiddink. A 2-2 draw with FC Twente on 16 January 1988 ended the run, yet PSV comfortably claimed a domestic double and landed the European Champion Clubs' Cup for good measure. "We had a dramatic pre-season, but from the first real match there was no stopping us," Van de Kerkhof recalled.

Europe's longest winning league runs
29 games – SL Benfica (Portugal) 1971-73
28 games – NK Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) 2006-06
25 games – Celtic FC (Scotland) 2003-04
22 games – PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) 1987-88
18 games – FH Hafnarfjördur (Iceland) 2004-05
17 games – FC Steaua Bucureşti (Romania) 1988
17 games – FC Dinamo Bucureşti (Romania) 1988
17 games – FC Internazionale Milano (Italy) 2006-07
16 games – Valur Reykjavík (Iceland) 1978
16 games – FC Barcelona (Spain) 2010-11
16 games – Olympiacos FC (Greece) 2005-06
15 games – SL Benfica (Portugal) 1963
15 games – Real Madrid CF (Spain) 1960-61
15 games – FC Bayern München (Germany) 2005
15 games – AC Sparta Praha (Czech Republic) 1999-00
15 games – Bangor City FC (Wales) 2010

Last updated: 07/12/13 6.48CET

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