Snap shot: Barcelona sink Arsenal's 'Invicibles'
Sunday, 21 February 2016
As Arsenal prepare to host Barcelona in the round of 16, we go back to the day when the Catalans' global dominance began – the 2006 final against Arsène Wenger's 'Invincibles'.
Article top media content
Arsenal were hoping to make history in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final and it took them just 18 minutes to do so – Jens Lehmann becoming the first player sent off in a European Cup decider.
Nonetheless, Sol Campbell gave the 'Invincibles' the lead and an improbable victory began to look increasingly likely as the second half wore on. In his last match for Barcelona, though, substitute Henrik Larsson turned the tide, creating goals for Samuel Eto'o then Juliano Belletti as the Catalan side fought back. Their era of supremacy had started.
1. Xavi Hernández
A Barcelona midfield stalwart for 17 seasons, Xavi was instrumental for club and country as they came to dominate the sport. The 36-year-old was pivotal in Spain's victorious UEFA EURO 2008 and 2012 campaigns and ever present as the Roja lifted the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He won 25 trophies with the Blaugrana, the 2015 UEFA Champions League final against Juventus capping an illustrious Camp Nou career. It was his last outing before joining al-Sadd in Qatar.
2. Rafael Márquez
The pony-tailed defender made 242 appearances in all competitions during seven seasons with Barcelona. Márquez, 37, became the first Mexican to win the UEFA Champions League with the 2006 triumph over Arsenal and also represented his country 131 times, including at four World Cups. He left Barcelona for the New York Red Bulls in 2010 and transferred to Club León in his homeland in 2012, subsequently returning to Europe with Verona in summer 2014. As recently as last month, however, he rejoined boyhood team Atlas.
After announcing himself at the 2002 World Cup, the outrageously gifted Brazilian signed for Barcelona in 2003 for a five-year stint. Twice FIFA World Player of the Year and recipient of the 2005 Ballon d'Or, he claimed two Liga crowns. The forward even got Real Madrid's fans to their feet in applause during one stellar 2005 showing at the Bernabéu. He then had three years at AC Milan before crossing the Atlantic for stints with Flamengo, Atlético Mineiro and Mexico's Querétaro. Now 35, he was still playing before terminating his contract with Fluminense in September.
4. Juliano Belletti
The substitute in Paris was Barcelona's unlikely match winner. A marauding full-back who arrived in 2004 from Villarreal, the erstwhile Brazilian international had been omitted in favour of Oleguer Presas for the Arsenal game. He was introduced by Frank Rijkaard with his side trailing 1-0, a substitution that helped change the game. Injury curtailed his next campaign, prompting a switch to Chelsea where he spent three seasons. Struggling with Achilles trouble, he retired in 2011 after a brief stay at Fluminense.
5. Maxi López
The Argentinian forward came to Barcelona as a 20-year-old in January 2005 and, despite becoming an instant hero with a strike against Chelsea, was never able to command a regular place, nor even involved in Paris. After a loan spell at Mallorca in 2006/07 he quit Catalonia for FC Moskva, where he played for two years before sealing another temporary transfer, to Grêmio in Brazil. Since 2010 he has plied his trade in Italy, representing Catania, Milan, Sampdoria, Chievo and Torino.
6. Thiago Motta
The defensive midfielder landed at Barcelona aged 17, yet injuries restricted him to 96 Liga outings in six years. Even so, he picked up five major honours with the Blaugrana and was an unused substitute in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final. Via Atlético Madrid and Genoa, Motta secured a historic treble with Internazionale Milano under José Mourinho in 2009/10. Now 33, he has been at Paris Saint-Germain since January 2012. Capped 23 times, Motta came off the bench in Italy's 4-0 loss to Spain in the UEFA EURO 2012 final and was also part of the Azzurri's 2014 World Cup squad.
7. Oleguer Presas
Local lad Oleguer compiled 175 outings in all competitions for Barcelona – and started at full-back against Arsenal before being replaced by Belletti. After five full seasons around the first team, he opted to move to Ajax in 2008 and experienced three campaigns with the Amsterdammers before retiring from football in 2011.
8. Sol Campbell
Campbell became just the 12th player in the two clubs' 114-year rivalry to represent both Tottenham and Arsenal when making the acrimonious 6km trip south to Highbury on a free transfer in 2001. The imposing England centre-back played over 300 times for Spurs and almost 200 for Arsenal, where he collected two titles, the second in the 'Invincibles' campaign of 2003/04. Campbell also picked up three FA Cups, adding another with Portsmouth. He retired in 2012 and, now 41, is pursuing political ambitions.
More like this ...
UEFA Champions League
Snap shot: When Valencia got the better of Barça
Snap shot: Owen stars as United oust Wolfsburg
Snap shot: Manchester City's 2010 trip to Turin
Snap shot: When Paris beat Barcelona's dream team
Snap shot: Trezeguet sets up Juve for Madrid win
Snap shot: When Monaco stunned mighty Madrid
Snap shot: Barcelona silence Madrid at the Bernabéu
Snap shot: Ronaldo's Old Trafford standing ovation
Snap shot: Liverpool's Istanbul heroes
Snap shot: Juve snatch last-eight spot from Werder
Snap shot: When Ajax overcame 3-1 loss
Snap shot: Ireland meet Turkey in EURO play-offs
Snap shot: Ireland v Scotland in 1986
Snap shot: Wales qualify for 1958 World Cup
Snap shot: Italy survive to reach World Cup final
Snap shot: Northern Ireland reach '86 World Cup
UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League
Snap shot: Maradona's Napoli reign supreme, 1989
Snap shot: Sevilla's first UEFA Cup triumph
Snap shot: Galatasaray win historic UEFA Cup
Snap shot: Schalke v Shakhtar, 11 years on
Snap shot: Batistuta ends Roma's long title wait
Snap shot: Chelsea's 2005 title winners a decade on
Snap shot: When Benfica beat Mourinho's Porto
Snap shot: Portugal beat Germany in 2004 U21s
Snap shot: England's epic 2009 semi-final win
Snap shot: Benzema and Nasri among 2004 vintage