Best Team of the Decade

Barça is the greatest team of the decade! shouts the El Mundo Deportivo headline today. What they mean, of course, is that Barça is the greatest Spanish team of the decade. According to the Centro de Investigaciones de Historia y Estadística del Fútbol Español (CIHEFE). And also that we’re talking about overall, not in the league, where that honor goes to Real Madrid. And also not the Copa del Rey, where Sevilla is king.

But wait, didn’t Barça win 4 league titles? And Real Madrid got 4 as well, no? Oh, it’s based on a system of incomprehensible lunacy? Of course. the CIHEFE (which I’m pronouncing as “YES CHIEF” despite the spelling) is part of the IFFHS, which ranks Atleti (6th) in front of RM (8th) and puts Liverpool 5th. Fifth. You read that right, folks. Come in 7th in the Premier League and you’re obviously better than–and here I’m just grabbing the names of completely random clubs–Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City, and Aston Villa? Liverpool had 2 wins in the Champions League last year, both 1-0 wins over Hungary doormats Debrecen. Both Fiorentina and Lyon beat Liverpool. Where are they ranked? 67th and 19th, respectively. Wait, didn’t Lyon get to the semis of the Champions League by beating Real Madrid and Bordeaux. Confused? Good.

Scene: Two men sit in an office in the late afternoon sunlight. One is behind a desk, the other seated in front of him. A large plate glass window overlooks the Camp Nou. The Barcelona crest on a side wall is being polished by a third man, a workman.

Sandro Rosell: [holding up a copy of MD] We’re the greatest team of the decade!

Pep Guardiola: Don’t you think that’s meaningless?

Rosell: How could it be meaningless? Barça is now undeniably the best team of the last 10 years. And I should point out that I made this possible.

Guardiola: Undeniably?

Rosell: Indeed. I dare you to deny it! [pauses for a moment] Ha! See? You can’t do it because it’s true.

Guardiola: These newspapers are just finding crap to print.

Rosell: But it says Barça is first!

Guardiola: Right. And that means what, exactly?

Rosell: That…that we have the best coefficient! [beams with pride]

Guardiola: Yeah, we’ve got what [looks at the article in question] 1,630 points over the last 10 years. Where do they even get these numbers from? Look, Depor is 4th! They’re in 15th place and haven’t finished in the top 3 since 2004. They finished 10th last year and were lucky to do even that!

Rosell: But we’re first?

Guardiola: Look here. Hey guy [calls to workman] who are the 4 best teams in Spain?

Workman: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Villarreal, and Oviedo.

Rosell: Oviedo? They still have a team?

Guardiola: See, Depor isn’t in there.

Rosell: How can Oviedo, who I’ve never even heard of, be one of the best teams in Spain? They’re not on this list at all!

Workman: [shrugs] You asked, I told you. [returns to polishing the crest]

Guardiola: [reciting from memory] Real Oviedo are currently 17th in Segunda B group 2 with 13 points from 12 matches and [pause] 14 goals scored and [taps temple several times] ah, there it is, 13 goals against.  They just lost 1-2 against SD Lemona this weekend.

Rosell: That was…amazing? Also could be completely made up?

Guardiola: Our good sir makes a great point. Ask a perico who is best and they’ll give the same list.

Rosell: Espanyol fans think Oviedo is amazing?

Guardiola: You should have your brain checked for holes.

Rosell: But come on–Oviedo? They’re worse than…than…

Guardiola: Ceuta?

Rosell: Bless you.

Workman: The crest is shined, sir. Should I shine the bronzed copy of Benvingut al mon real you keep hidden in your desk drawer or should I come back to do that after hours like usual?

Guardiola: You shine a copy of your own book?

Rosell: He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Workman: It’s right next to the autographed picture of you being nutmegged by Ronaldinho that you had me frame for you.

Rosell: Quiet, man!

Workman: I don’t know why you don’t put that picture up on the wall. It would go well next to the picture of the pretty woman I found in the other drawer.

Rosell: Wait, what woman?

Guardiola: Quiet, man!

Rosell: [opens a drawer and pulls out a picture of a woman] Who the hell is this?

[door opens and a man peaks his head in]

Dani Alves: Why do you have a picture of my wife!?

Guardiola: Well I’ve got to get going.

Rosell: Wait, what? OH GOD.

Workman: There are like a bunch of those in his house.

Alves: [snarls incomprehensible rage and charges Rosell]

[Guardiola side steps the charge and slips through the open door. Alves hurls himself over the desk between himself and Rosell, catching the latter off guard and sending him through the window behind the desk. The two fall to the ground several floors below.]

Rosell: Aaak, come off it, man, it’s not my picture. [Alves detaches his jaws from Rosell’s neck]

Alves: Whose was it?

Rosell: Uh, uh, Laporta’s. I didn’t have time to clean out the desk yet with all the debts and loans and please don’t kill me.

Alves: [snarls incomprehensible rage and races off into the dwindling sunlight]

Rosell: I can’t believe I wanted this job. [lays head on pavement and sobs quietly]

Guardiola: [standing over Rosell] Oh yeah, I wanted to mention that I’d like to get Ibrahim Afellay during January.

Rosell: Well, I’ll have to think about it.

Guardiola: Indeed, please take all the time here you’d like. [glances around, the dusk is settling in stronger now] Just remember, the best club of the last decade wouldn’t have a pack of lions running loose on its property. Toodles.

Rosell: Of course not. The best club of the decade would–wait, why would you even say that?

[Guardiola gets in his car and drives away. Rosell sits up, still a little dazed from the fall that has somehow not injured him significantly. He hears a coughing off to the side and turns, but sees nothing in the darkness that is now almost total]

Rosell: Who’s there? Piqué? Are you playing more tricks on me? I told you last time, I don’t like finding Bojan in my trunk, even if he is waiting patiently to be let out.

[There is another cough, this one closer. A street light flickers on above Rosell’s head and he sees shapes moving in the dark just beyond the glow.]

Rosell: Haha, good one guys, you’re crawling around on all fours pretending to be animals.

[He curls into a tiny ball and whimpers as the lions pad slowly into the light].


Pending the result of the Sevilla-Valencia match this afternoon, Real Sociedad is provisionally in 6th place with 16 points. They’re 2 ahead of Atleti, Mallorca, and Sevilla and 8 points out of relegation. Espanyol is in 4th (4th!) despite 4 losses. They’re just 1 point ahead of Valencia, though, and would be overtaken and dropped into the Europa League spots if it Valencia win or draw today.

Real Madrid, Villarreal, and Espanyol are all 5-0-0 at home, with Villarreal having just given up their first goal at the Madrigal in a 4-1 spanking of Athletic Bilbao. Only Barcelona are 5-0-0 on the road.

Also, you should check out an NYT discussion of Barça that gets most things right and approaches the subject in a fairly straight-forward and objective manner.

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Written by:

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Ethan
    November 8, 2010


  2. Diego S.
    November 8, 2010

    Now we have proof to what we say to those EE fans.

  3. Eklavya
    November 8, 2010


    • Diego S.
      November 8, 2010

      All your Best Team of the Decade are belong to Us.

      • Helge
        November 8, 2010

        Where does this saying come from?
        I was wondering about it several times because I’ve read similar sentences quite often (All your …. are belong to us).

  4. Josep
    November 8, 2010

    How long has everyone been a Barca fan? Personally, I haven’t even watched soccer that long. I remember watching the World Cups and playing when I was younger but it wasn’t until the 06 World Cup that I started watching.

    After being bored in class and reading about La Masia, and lots of FIFA 07 I decided Barca to be my favorite team. They then got knocked out by United in the CL 😀

    And thats that. I’ve grown more and more a fan, and I think it has to do with the availability of the sport. When I was younger soccer just was never on TV and thats why I never really paid attention to it.. you couldn’t.

    Well, thats my story.

    • Kari
      November 8, 2010

      Well, mine is similar. I played as a kid and used to casually watch the WC and Euros because my siblings put it on, but I never followed a NT or club team, or rather I didn’t have any interest in it.

      Anyway, long story short: I watched Messi at the WC ’06 and really liked the way he played. Found out his team was Barcelona and followed ’em since. Thanks God for that 😀

  5. Auld Super
    November 8, 2010

    That was funny, I enjoyed it, well done.

  6. IS
    November 8, 2010

    Guardiola: Ceuta?
    Rosell: Bless you.

    Instant classic!

  7. barca96
    November 8, 2010

    Man United are going to sing a 15year old Norwegian kid. How is that possible?

    Sid Lowe on Pathetico 😆
    “Real Madrid withdraw another three points from the bank of Atlético.

    It’s a sorry state of affairs when Atlético are satisfied with simply not being beaten badly in what used to be Real’s biggest game”

    “In the past, Atlético invented a million different ways of losing, each more absurd and implausible than the last, each layered with greater pathos and darker comedy.”

  8. Kari
    November 8, 2010

    For all the people who don’t understand the “all your bases are belong to us”, I’ll save people the confusion and research and just explain it.

    “All your bases are belong to us” is a declaration of superiority. The phrase stems from a 1991 adaptation of Toaplan’s “Zero Wing”, a shoot-’em-up arcade game. A brief introduction was added to the opening screen, and it has what many consider to be the worst Japanese-to-English translation in video game history.


    The introduction shows the bridge of a starship in chaos as a Borg-like figure named CATS materializes and incorrectly says, “How are you gentlemen!! All your base are belong to us.” instead of “All of your bases have been taken over by CATS.”

    This very, very amusing mistranslation spread virally through the internet, bringing with it a slew of JPEGs and a movie of hacked photographs, each showing a street sign, store front, package label, etc. hacked to read “All your base are belong to us” or one of the other many supremely dopey lines from the game (such as “Somebody set us up the bomb!!!” or “What happen?”).

    The original has been generalized to “All your X are belong to us”, where X is filled in to connote a sinister takeover of some sort.

    For more info, I refer you to : .

      • Kari
        November 8, 2010

        I like being thorough in my explanations. 😉

        • barca96
          November 8, 2010

          Thanks for the explanation kari.
          Btw, I think Chinese to English translations are far worse. They are hilarious!

  9. jhargrid
    November 8, 2010

    So I mean basically soccer is over forever now, yes? Like Barça is the best team of eternity and everyone who is a Barça fan gets to be happy forever and all the rest must suffer in lamentation and despair?

    Works for me.

    November 8, 2010

    Guys what s up??Did you see what happened at barajas airport in madrid?Our players waiting cause the airport crew watched the game of madrid.s teams.What a shame.And offcourse after 10games no penalty for barca and 2 against us.Perez is clever.He make everything to win la liga.I don.t like to talk about refs but this season are dangerous.

    November 8, 2010

    And about the game.Messi was by far the best player as in most games until now.He have the team up to his solders and some people said that he made mistakes and he is selfish.Oh yeah.And is his fault that pique made two handballs eh?And when a forward defend like crazy is difficult to make every chance goal.cause he is TIRED.But one goal and 2 assists are not enough for messi eh?he must score 4 and assist 4 in every game to tell that he was good.

    November 8, 2010

    It.s difficult as you see not comment here!hehe!I could not resist when i saw some comments about Leo!

    • Kari
      November 8, 2010

      Yay! You’re back! I thought you weren’t gonna comment anymore 🙁

      Keep commenting! I think a lot of people owe you an apology; if I were new to the blog and I saw those comments, I would be put off to be honest. You’re always welcome, so don’t be a lurker. Comment once in a while, okay?

      • stowe
        November 9, 2010

        agreed. I don’t know what was said, Greece Barca, but I hope you keep posting. I don’t always agree with your opinions, but I really appreciate your enthusiasm. Hope I can keep reading your name here

  13. barca96
    November 8, 2010

    Great article on nytimes.
    I’m waiting for a link to one of Kxevin’s or Isaiah’s column one day 🙂

  14. November 9, 2010

    Why does noone mention that we’ve been the greatest in the last decade of the past century, huh? Unfair to the club, that has put together two besties of decades in a row. If we manage to make it 3/3, we’d be the best club in the end of the old and the beggining of the new millenium.

    And Greece Barca is totaly cool 🙂

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