European champions FC Barcelona make a record eighth appearance in the UEFA Super Cup when they face UEFA Europa League holders FC Porto, a side with a special resonance for Lionel Messi.
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FC Barcelona have set a UEFA Super Cup record just by reaching the Stade Louis II showpiece and both they and FC Porto are hoping to bring their number of wins level with their total losses in the event.
UEFA Super Cup pedigree
• UEFA Champions League holders Barcelona have made it to the annual showpiece for a record eighth time.
• Although they will move one ahead of the mark they previously shared with AC Milan of seven appearances, the Italian side have lifted the trophy five times to Barcelona's three – in 1992, 1997 (the last of the two-legged fixtures) and 2009.
• Barcelona's record four losses came in 1979, 1982, 1989 and 2006; the latter was their only defeat as European champions, compared with victories in 1992 and 2009.
• UEFA Europa League winners Porto are making their fourth appearance: they triumphed in 1987 before losing both previous Monaco trips, in 2003 and 2004. Their 2-1 defeat by Valencia CF in 2004 is the only preceding Spain v Portugal UEFA Super Cup.
• As in 1987 and 2004, Porto go into the game with a different coach from the one that won their qualifying competition. In 1987 Artur Jorge oversaw the Dragons' European Champion Clubs' Cup victory, yet by the time of the UEFA Super Cup Tomislav Ivić was at the helm for the 1-0 away and home successes against AFC Ajax (the second leg played in January 1988).
• In 2004 José Mourinho, as with André Villas-Boas this summer, departed for Chelsea FC. Víctor Fernández was in charge in Monaco for the loss to Valencia seven years ago; Vítor Pereira does the honours this time.
• Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola played in one UEFA Super Cup game, the second leg of the 1992 final which was played on 10 March 1993. His side concluded their 3-2 aggregate win against SV Werder Bremen with a 2-1 home victory, in which the visitors' Oliver Reck was dismissed after 30 minutes.
• Guardiola oversaw the 2009 triumph – 1-0 after extra time against FC Shakhtar Donetsk. Substitute Pedro Rodríguez got the goal in the 115th minute.
• The Blaugrana lineup for that match was:
Valdés, Alves, Puyol, Piqué, Abidal, Touré (Busquets 100), Xavi, Keita, Messi, Henry (Bojan 96), Ibrahimović (Pedro 81).
• Víctor Valdés, Carles Puyol, Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernández also played in the 3-0 defeat by Sevilla FC in 2006. Current Barcelona players Adriano and Daniel Alves were on the winning side, with Alves named man of the match by the UEFA technical study group.
• Alves and Seydou Keita featured in Sevilla's 3-1 loss to Milan the following year.
• Sergio Busquets' goalkeeping father, Carlos, was an unused substitute in both legs of the 1992 and 1997 editions.
• Should Barcelona win, Guardiola would become the sixth coach – and the first Spaniard – to lift two UEFA Super Cups. The current five are:
Raymond Goethals (RSC Anderlecht 1976 and 1978)
Arrigo Sacchi (Milan 1989 and 1990)
Sir Alex Ferguson (Aberdeen FC 1983 and Manchester United FC 1991)
Louis van Gaal (Ajax 1995 and Barcelona 1997)
Carlo Ancelotti (AC Milan 2003 and 2007)
• However, coaches with past success in the competition have lost the last four editions: Juande Ramos (Sevilla, 2007); Sir Alex (Manchester United, 2008); Mircea Lucescu (Shakhtar, 2009); Rafael Benítez (FC Internazionale Milano, 2010).
• Should Barcelona prevail for the second time in three seasons, it will be the quickest reclaiming of the trophy since AC Milan followed up their 1989 victory with another triumph in 1990.
• Barcelona have played one other match at the Stade Louis II, recording a 1-0 win at AS Monaco FC in the 1993/94
UEFA Champions League group stage. Guardiola was in the starting lineup, Hristo Stoichkov scoring after 13 minutes for Johan Cruyff's side.
• Porto have never played an away game at Monaco, the team they beat 3-0 in the 2004 UEFA Champions League final.
• Last year's contest was the first to involve the winners of the relaunched UEFA Europa League and Club Atlético de Madrid did the competition proud by beating Inter 2-0.
• In the 11 years since the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup was abolished, the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League winners have overcome the UEFA Champions League holders six times.
• This will be the 14th UEFA Super Cup since the event was switched from a two-legged affair to a one-off game in Monaco. There will be a 15th match at Stade Louis II next August (or 16th if the 1986 tie between FC Steaua Bucureşti and FC Dynamo Kyiv is included), after which the 2013 edition will be staged at Prague's Eden Stadium following a UEFA Executive Committee decision on 16 June 2011.
• This will be the clubs' eighth encounter in UEFA competition and the first on neutral ground. Barcelona have won four and Porto three of the seven games; the Spanish side are on a run of three victories.
• They first met in the 1973/74 UEFA Cup first round, Porto prevailing 3-1 at home and 1-0 away. That remains Barcelona's only home loss to Portuguese opposition.
• The next encounter came in the 1985/86 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round, Barcelona winning 2-0 at the Camp Nou and progressing on away goals after a 3-1 defeat in Portugal.
• Barcelona also triumphed 3-0 in a one-off 1993/94 UEFA Champions League semi-final at the Camp Nou, with Guardiola in the lineup.
• Guardiola was also involved in the most recent meetings in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League second group stage, Barcelona winning 4-2 at home and 2-0 away. Guardiola and Puyol began both matches while Xavi was a half-time substitute for Phillip Cocu at Porto having been unused the week before.
• Barcelona also have a place in their opponents' history having faced the home club in the official opening game of the Estádio do Dragão on 16 November 2003. A 52,004 crowd – still the stadium record – saw Porto win 2-0 against a Barça team containing Xavi and, making his senior debut from the bench after 74 minutes, a 16-year-old Lionel Messi.
• The late Sir Bobby Robson managed both clubs, moving from Porto to Barcelona – along with Mourinho – in 1996.
• The first of Barcelona's 25 matches against Portuguese opponents in UEFA competition (W14 D5 L6) was the 1961 European Cup final against SL Benfica, who won 3-2 in Berne.
• The Azulgrana are on an 11-game unbeaten run against Portuguese sides dating back to a 1-0 loss at CF Os Belenenses in the UEFA Cup first round second leg on 30 September 1987; that result still took Barcelona through 2-1 on aggregate.
• During this sequence Barcelona have been held twice, 0-0 at Benfica in 1991 and 2006, and are on a three-match winning streak including their most recent Portuguese engagement – a 5-2 victory at Sporting Clube de Portugal on 26 November 2008 in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
• That last game and the Catalan side's 3-1 home success earlier in the same competition are Guardiola's only matches against Portuguese clubs as head coach. As a Barcelona player he was unbeaten in nine encounters with Portuguese teams, winning eight and drawing one.
• Porto have played 36 fixtures against Spanish clubs in UEFA competition; their record reads W12 D5 L19.
• In last season's UEFA Europa League they met Sevilla in the round of 32, winning 2-1 away and losing 1-0 at home; in the semi-finals they beat Villarreal CF 5-1 in Portugal before a 3-2 defeat in Spain.
• Their only game on neutral ground against Spanish opposition was the 2004 UEFA Super Cup loss to Valencia.
• Five players have represented both Barcelona and Porto: Aloísio, Vítor Baía, Fernando Couto, Ricardo Quaresma and Deco.