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SI.com: Jonathan Wilson: Tactical switch tilts clásico in favor of Barcelonaupdated: Sun Dec 11 2011 15:06:00

There are still those, remarkably, who ask whether tactics really matter, still those who persist with the Luddite insistence that the best players will win out come what may. No matter that Lionel Messi never produces his Barcelona form for Argentina or that Dani Alves regularly flounders for Brazil, Barcelona, these flat-earthers keep saying, win because they have the best players.

SI.com: Sid Lowe: Brawl helps heal Spain's internal riftsupdated: Fri Sep 09 2011 08:58:00

Peace came via a punch up. Spain came from two goals down to win 3-2 against Chile on Sept. 2, Cesc Fàbregas scored twice to make it five goals in four matches, and Andres Iniesta was so good that one newspaper gave him four marks out of three, the Chile coach saying: "he destroyed us." But that was not the best thing that happened. The best thing that happened was a fight.

SI.com: Jonathan Wilson: Barca's 3-4-3 formation another tactical weapon for Guardiolaupdated: Tue Sep 06 2011 06:57:00

Sometimes soccer can seem a very simple sport. The great Dutch coach Rinus Michels, the father of the Total Football school of the late sixties and early seventies and the man who took that style of soccer to Barcelona, believed that his side should always play one more defender than the other team had attackers. If the opponent played three up, Michels liked four back; if two up, then three back. To an extent, that has been the theoretical orthodoxy ever since.

SI.com: Jonathan Wilson: Tournament of all-time greatest club teams Part IVupdated: Mon Jul 11 2011 16:10:00

Editor's note: This is Part 4 of a four-part imaginary tournament between 16 of the all-time greatest club teams in soccer history. Parts 1, 2 and 3 can be found here.

Messi hails Barca teammates after Champions League victoryupdated: Sun May 29 2011 10:13:00

Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has hailed the performance of his teammates after the Spanish giants beat Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley on Saturday to lift their third Champions League trophy in six seasons.

Fans await Champions League Finalupdated: Sun May 29 2011 10:13:00

CNN's Alex Thomas reports from the UEFA Champions Festival where fans gear up for the Champions League Final on Saturday.

SI.com: Georgina Turner: Barcelona vs. Man United player gradesupdated: Sat May 28 2011 21:46:00

Reviewing the individual performances in the 2011 Champions League final (players graded on a scale of 1-10):

SI.com: Jonathan Wilson: Barcelona outclasses Man United with a performance for the agesupdated: Sat May 28 2011 18:19:00

WEMBLEY, ENGLAND -- Surely now the doubters have been won over: this Barcelona is one of the greatest teams there has ever been. In Pep Guardiola's three seasons in charge Barca has twice won the Champions League, and it was denied a hat trick that would have placed it statistically alongside the Ajax and Bayern Munich sides of the seventies only by the combined might of Jose Mourinho and an Icelandic volcano.

SI.com: Ben Lyttleton: Breakdown of Barcelona vs. Man United player matchupsupdated: Fri May 27 2011 11:54:00

On the eve of the Champions League final, here's how Barcelona and Manchester United's projected starting lineups stack up against each other:

SI.com: Jonathan Wilson: Varied tactical options for Man United to deploy against Barcelonaupdated: Thu May 26 2011 15:47:00

Barcelona's team we know; Manchester United's is a matter of speculation, a fact that, in itself, is indicative of two things. First, that Barcelona is the favorite, with such a defined and familiar style of play that, even in this age of rotation, it is possible, as with the greats of the past, to rattle through a first eleven.

Busquets free for Champions League final as UEFA dismiss racism claimupdated: Mon May 16 2011 17:57:00

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets is free to play in the Champions League final against Manchester United after UEFA dismissed an allegation of racism by Real Madrid.

SI.com: Sid Lowe: Relationship between Barcelona and Real Madrid hitting a new lowupdated: Mon May 02 2011 16:27:00

Apparently, there was a soccer match last week in which something happened that had never, ever happened before: some players kicked, faked, dived, cheated and abused each other and the referee. This was an entirely unprecedented event. You would certainly think so from the fallout from the game.

SI.com: Georgina Turner: Are players entitled to go down? Just think of what we're missingupdated: Fri Apr 22 2011 14:01:00

Another week, another refereeing debate. This time it's about Lee Probert's decision not to award Manchester United a penalty when Javier Hernandez ended up sprawled on the turf at the feet of Newcastle defender Danny Simpson. Man United's manager Alex Ferguson, naturally, was adamant that a spot kick ought to have been awarded; Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, naturally, felt that the greater injustice was that an earlier Anderson foul on Peter Lovenkrands hadn't resulted in a penalty.

SI.com: Jonathan Wilson: Barcelona overwhelms Arsenal; Spurs resolute against Milanupdated: Thu Mar 10 2011 12:39:00

Tactical observations from Champions League action this week:

Messi returns to haunt Arsenal as Barca triumph; Shakhtar thump Romaupdated: Wed Mar 09 2011 04:30:00

Lionel Messi returned to haunt Arsenal as his two goals helped Barcelona into the quarterfinals of the Champions League after a 3-1 win in Spain.

SI.com: Sid Lowe: Mascherano's compatibility with Barcelona's style questionedupdated: Thu Sep 16 2010 12:58:00

The question got straight to the point -- and, though it appeared innocuous enough, the point was a sharp one.

Ten-man Inter oust holders Barcelona to reach Champions League finalupdated: Thu Apr 29 2010 05:55:00

Inter Milan survived an early sending-off and a Barcelona onslaught to reach the final of Europe's Champions League, where they will meet Bayern Munich.

SI.com: Georgina Turner: Inter vs. Barcelona live analysisupdated: Wed Apr 28 2010 23:31:00

Surviving the first-half dismissal of midfielder Thiago Motta, Inter Milan reached the European Champions League final for the first time in 38 years by eliminating Barcelona in their semfinal matchup. Despite losing 1-0 to a late Gerard Pique-goal Wednesday night at the Nou Camp, Inter progressed 3-2 overall on aggregate score.

Barcelona in Club World finalupdated: Wed Dec 16 2009 18:02:00

Substitute Lionel Messi scored in the second half as Barcelona came from a goal down to beat Mexican club Atlante 3-1 to reach the final of the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic seals El Clasico winupdated: Sun Nov 29 2009 16:03:00

A superb second half goal from substitute Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave Barcelona a 1-0 win over arch-rivals Real Madrid to go back to the top of the Spanish La Liga on Sunday.

Messi double sparks Barca five-goal rompupdated: Sun Sep 20 2009 05:15:00

Argentina star Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona thrashed Atletico Madrid 5-2 in the Camp Nou to maintain their perfect start to the Spanish league season.

Forlan thwarts Real as Barca extend leadupdated: Sun Mar 08 2009 09:52:00

Diego Forlan dented Real Madrid's title challenge on Saturday when he earned city rivals Atletico a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu -- allowing Barcelona to extend their Primera Liga lead to six points.

Shakhtar end Barcelona's unbeaten streakupdated: Tue Dec 09 2008 17:59:00

Barcelona suffered their first defeat in 20 games as they went down 3-2 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in their Champions League clash in the Camp Nou on Tuesday.

SI.com: Gabriele Marcotti: No Dream Team 2.0, but this Barça is exceptionalupdated: Thu Nov 06 2008 12:02:00

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Pep Guardiola. At 33, he had chosen to end his career in Qatar largely because, as he saw it, the modern game had no room for a guy like him.

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