Champions League Copa del Rey Football La Liga

Barcelona have never been better placed for the treble

Ernesto Valverde is out to become only the third coach in Spanish football to lift the treble and he is arguably set up even better than the previous two who managed it were.

At this stage of the season, neither Pep Guardiola nor Luis Enrique, both at the time in their first season as Barcelona coach, held such a strong LaLiga advantage.

In 2008/09, the Blaugrana became the first-ever Spanish team to win the treble and, under Guardiola, boasted a six-point lead over Real Madrid with nine games to go, whereas Luis Enrique’s troop of 2014/15 were four ahead of Los Blancos.

Comparatively, Valverde’s men are 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid having seen off Diego Simeone in a crucial LaLiga fixture at the Camp Nou in March.

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When it comes to Europe, the current side’s Champions League route appears far kinder than that of 2008/09’s or 2014/15’s.

Bayern Munich were the quarter-final opponents for Guardiola in a tie where Die Roten were often seen as favourites, which cannot be said for Roma next month.

Three years ago, Luis Enrique had to contend with Paris Saint-Germain and, while they weren’t quite at the peak of their spending powers back then, the ambitious French team were a formidable prospect.

Sevilla threat

The final area to consider is the Copa del Rey final, where once again Barcelona are the favourites to lift the crown.

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For both Guardiola and Luis Enrique, Athletic Club were their opponents in the showpiece event and it is fair to say that the current Sevilla squad present a tougher prospect for Valverde’s Catalans.

The Basque team were enjoying a good spell in both of those two seasons but Los Nervionenses are cup experts and have won a number of finals in recent times.

There can be great optimism, therefore, in the Barcelona camp but nothing is won yet and clearly the month of April will be decisive in how they fare in the latter stages of knockout competitions while also looking to seal the LaLiga title as early as possible.

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