Throwback XI: Barcelona 2014/15 – when MSN ruled Europe

Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets are both preparing to make their last appearance at Barcelona as the 2022/23 campaign nears its end. Back in 2014/15, though, the pair were part of a legendary Barcelona side that dominated Spain and Europe…

Nine years ago, the Catalan giants introduced Luis Enrique as the team’s new manager. The Spaniard would emulate Pep Guardiola by guiding Barca to an incredible treble in his first season in charge.

Enrique’s side first claimed the 2014/15 La Liga title by two points over runner-up, Real Madrid. Then, a Copa del Rey final featuring an all-time goal from Lionel Messi saw the Blaugrana complete a domestic double.

To seal the treble, Barcelona faced Juventus in the 2014/15 Champions League final at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. Here, the La Liga side ran out 3-1 winners, sealing the club’s fifth European Cup. This is actually Barca’s most recent European triumph to date.

But who were the stars that elevated this team to greatness? We are going to look back on the eleven that started in Berlin.

Goalkeeper and defence

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen was Barcelona’s goalkeeper throughout the 2014/15 campaign. He is actually one of very few players still with the club as they became La Liga champs this season. Ter Stegen also shared goalkeeping duties throughout the campaign with Claudio Bravo.

Ahead of him, Dani Alves was a regular in the right-back slot. Meanwhile, a centre-back pairing of Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano brought a mix of on-ball composure and defensive tenacity.

Previously, and at other clubs, Mascherano had played in midfield. However, with Barca, the Argentine had adapted into a centre-back role.

At left-back, Jordi Alba provided an abundance of energy and extra width to the side.

The midfield

For the Champions League showpiece, some fans may be surprised at the absence of Xavi. The Blaugrana icon was still at Barcelona in 2014/15 – although he started the UCL final on the bench.

Xavi came on as a sub to lift the European Cup in what turned out to be his last appearance for the club.

Instead of Barca’s current manager, Croatian Ivan Rakitic got the nod. This proved a great call by Luis Enrique, as Rakitic scored the final’s opening goal.

His midfielder partner, Andres Iniesta, assisted the team’s first strike on the night. The legendary maestro earned Man of the Match honours in this game after a virtuoso display. With this, Iniesta had now been MOTM in a Champions League, World Cup, and European Championships final.

Finally, anchoring the midfield was Sergio Busquets. A technician who provided defensive cover, Busquets was the foil that allowed Rakitic and Iniesta to create. The engine room was integral to Barca’s style of play; they helped the team dominate possession, wearing down opponents with their ability to retain the ball.

They had a pretty decent front three to supply, as well.

The attack – MSN

Barcelona’s attacking trio in 2014/15 was at the core of their success. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar were absolutely scintillating throughout the campaign.

Messi, of course, put up video game-like numbers: he finished 2014/15 with 58 goals and 31 assists from 57 matches, per Transfermarkt. Incredibly, though, the Argentine did not find the net in the final – unlike his MSN counterparts.

Neymar also produced a tremendous haul of goal contributions during this season. The Brazilian finished 2014/15 with 39 goals and 11 assists for Barcelona. He scored the third goal in Barca’s triumphant Champions League final – sealing the trophy for the Blaugrana.

Finally, Suarez was the No.9 in the attacking front three. But he had the least goals, with “only” 25 from 44 matches. Suarez did add 23 assists to his stats during his first season with Barca, though. He also scored his side’s second goal against Juve in Berlin.

This trio was untouchable for Barcelona during 2014/15, sealing their reputation as one of the greatest attacking tridents the world has ever seen. The silverware followed as a result; with their treble, this particular Barca side is now etched into the history books.

Featured image credit: Getty