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Barca Blaugranes Awards: Best Team Performance: The Winner

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And the winner of the 2012-2013 Barca Blaugranes Award for Best Team Performance is...

WINNER – FC Barcelona 4-0 AC Milan – UEFA Champions League – 94%

First there were nerves:

"Barcelona surprised many with their team selection; there was no place for Carles Puyol in the starting XI, Thiago couldn’t even earn his spot on the bench while Xavi was immediately restored to midfield after injury. 4-3-3? 3-4-3? For all the talk of tactics, for all the talk of personnel ultimately only one thing would matter: could Barcelona get a result?"

Then there was hope:

"The Blaugrana started brightly and the pressure that characterised Guardiola’s reign was evident right from the start. The hunger; the desire; the sheer determination to not only stop the opposition but to completely overwhelm them; it was all flooding back, and within five minutes the historic comeback was on."

But by the end, there was just joy:

"Each player worked selflessly, each player kept their concentration, and each player fought hard. It's not just about Messi (who was beyond brilliant), but also about Jordi Alba, David Villa, Javier Mascherano, and yes, even Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean, in a substitute appearance, managed a goal called out by a marginal offside and an assist."

Because when all was said and done, we knew we’d seen something special:

"Of course, as I said, it's too easy to get ahead of yourself. This is just one game, and Barca could be out in the next round. Still, it'd be a disservice to not at least savor this moment, because Barca accomplished a feat never done before in the Champions League."

"That is something that will still be remembered in five years' time."

Note: The full match is available on Youtube (albeit with a poor picture quality) here and the above quotes were taken from Barça Blaugranes coverage of the victory, including the Match Review, and Luis’ post-match editorial

RUNNER-UP – FC Barcelona 5-1 Real Sociedad – La Liga – 3%

In any other season, this sensational performance probably would have scooped the award. After all, it was the perfect start to Tito Vilanova’s reign as manager, after a mediocre pre-season in which many were questioning Barcelona’s title credentials. In 90 short minutes, the Blaugrana ruthlessly demonstrated that they were still the team to beat in Spain, regardless of Pep Guardiola’s departure.

THE REST

3rd place – FC Barcelona 4-0 Espanyol – 2%
4th place – FC Barcelona 5-1 Athletic Bilbao – 2%
5th place – FC Barcelona 4-1 Malaga – 0%