YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 18: Lionel Messi (just seen centre) of Barcelona celebrates with team mates after victory in the FIFA Club World Cup Final match between Santos and FC Barcelona at the International Yokohama Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Yokohama, Japan. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Over the course of the season, FC Barcelona have treated us to some truly spectacular displays; performances that have won titles, won bragging rights and captured the world’s imagination. As the Blaugrana weren’t as successful as previous seasons, these performances were less common, but if anything that just makes us appreciate them more. After all, wouldn’t life be boring if Barca won by Manita score-lines each and every week? Well, I'm not convinced either, but here are the five nominees.
FIFA Club World Cup Final – 4-0 vs Santos
This performance propelled Barcelona to their third trophy of the 2011/12 season and fifth in the calendar year as a comfortable 4-0 victory was enough to defeat Santos in the FIFA Club World Cup final. The Blaugrana were at their mesmeric best in the first half with goals from Lionel Messi, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas ensuring that Barcelona went in at the break with a three goal lead. The second half was a mere formality and Lionel Messi completed the scoring in the 82nd minute.
El Clasico – 3-1 vs Real Madrid
Of all the victories on the list, this win was probably the one that gave us the most satisfaction – at the time anyway. Karim Benzema’s goal within 30 seconds of kick-off was a bitter blow, but Barcelona re-grouped and recovered to not only equalise but thoroughly outclass their eternal rivals as goals from Alexis Sanchez, Xavi and Cesc Fàbregas sealed an impressive comeback win at the Bernabeu. In the end, this result was a little inconsequential, but it is proof that Real are not necessarily ahead yet.
La Liga – 5-1 vs Valencia
Barcelona cut the gap at the top of the table to 10 points with this spectacular 5-1 victory over third-placed Valencia. In his 200th start for Barcelona, it was Lionel Messi who grabbed the headlines contributing four goals and an assist for Xavi Hernandez after Pablo Piatti have given Unai Emery’s side the lead within a quarter of an hour. It was just a shame that the league title was effectively over by this stage anyway.
La Liga – 8-0 vs Osasuna
Barcelona treated us to a spectacle back in September, dismantling Osasuna time and time again on route to an 8-0 victory at the Camp Nou. Lionel Messi set the ball rolling, though a double from David Villa, an own-goal by Roversio, a volley by Cesc Fabregas, a chip by Xavi, and a further two from Lionel Messi (to complete his hat-trick) made it a historic win for the Blaugrana.
Copa del Rey Final – 3-0 vs Athletic Bilbao
Barcelona turned in a majestic performance – in Pep Guardiola’s final match in charge no less – to deliver a 14th and final trophy in the Guardiola era with a 3-0 win over a tough Athletic Bilbao side. An intense first half-hour from the Catalans left the Basques in their wake, with Pedro netting within the first five minutes. From there on in, the game was all but over and Lionel Messi doubled the advantage within a quarter of an hour, before Pedro got his second and the final goal of the game just after the half-hour. It was a dominant performance, amongst the best of Guardiola’s era, for half-an-hour at least.