Chelsea and Barcelona have perhaps one of the most underrated rivalries of the 21st century. Their Champions League meetings have been legendary, from Ronaldinho’s Stamford Bridge wondergoal to Didier Drogba’s expletive-ridden rand and Fernando Torres’ breakaway winner, between them they have created so many historic moments.
Now, ahead of an International Champions Cup friendly in Japan, the Blaugrana have cheekily reignited the fire over Twitter.
Originally, their rivalry started because of Jose Mourinho when he was Blues boss in 2005. Mourinho has never truly forgiven the Blaugrana for dubbing him ‘the translator’ in the Bobby Robson era at Camp Nou, when he and Robson knew he was much more than that. But it grew from there and defined many a European campaign for both sides.
Ronaldinho scored one of the greatest goals ever in that Champions League tie in Mourinho’s first season, which Chelsea won, while Barça beat Chelsea on their way to winning the competition in both 2006 and 2009, and the Blues downed the Spaniards in 2012. Torres, Drogba and Andres Iniesta played particularly big roles in all those meetings.
Referencing those meetings, or at least the 2012 one, with a video ahead or this friendly, Chelsea riled a fair few people. Evidently, that included the Barça Twitter team, who quickly shot them down with a brilliant riposte. Though Frank Lampard has taken over a team now back in the Champions League after finishing third in the Premier League and winning the Europa League under Maurizio Sarri last season, they had a year out, with their last match in the competition a defeat at Camp Nou to a Lionel Messi-inspired Barça. It is safe to say they didn’t let them forget it.
Chelsea are in the midst of a transfer ban, which Barça themselves suffered from a few years ago. But Ernesto Valverde is able to call upon Antoine Griezmann, his new signing from Atletico Madrid, as the rivalry writes another, perhaps less important chapter.