Laurent Blanc takes home Ligue 1 Coach of the Year honors at the UNFP Awards http://bit.ly/1UKECwj
Barcelona join Arsenal’s Invincibles and Capello’s Milan among Europe’s unbeatables
AC Milan still have the longest unbeaten run in Europe’s top-five leagues, but Barcelona have joined an elite club.
Barcelona may have suffered a humiliating Champions League exit at the hands of Roma, but Ernesto Valverde’s men have written their names into the European history books nonetheless.
Saturday’s 2-1 win against Valencia at Camp Nou means Barca have gone 39 games unbeaten in LaLiga, breaking the Spanish top-flight record in the process, with Valverde yet to taste defeat in the league since taking over as head coach.
Barcelona are in similarly elite company as a result of their new landmark, joining the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Bayern Munich in holding a European league record.
Here, we take a look at the longest unbeaten runs in each of the continents top five divisions: the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, the Bundesliga and Serie A.
LIGUE 1: PSG – 36 GAMES
Perhaps it should not come as a surprise that PSG are the holders of France’s longest unbeaten run, with the Parisiens having been dominant since the club’s takeover by Qatar Sports Investments. Under Laurent Blanc, PSG won a domestic treble in the 2015-16 season, going 36 matches without defeat before falling to Lyon in February. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an amazing 44 Ligue 1 goals during that campaign before the Sweden star left for Manchester United, having become PSG’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Date of last game in run: February 20, 2016
LALIGA: BARCELONA – 39 GAMES
The current Barcelona team are not considered to be a classic iteration of the Catalan giants, but Valverde deserves credit for the way he has made his side hard to break down. Barca may not be quite as thrilling on the attack without Neymar after he joined PSG to become the world’s most expensive footballer, but Lionel Messi is still capable of winning games all on his own. Indeed, had Messi not bailed Barcelona out at Sevilla – they trailed 2-0 with only a few minutes to play, the Argentina star levelling in the closing moments – the record would have eluded Barca.
Date of last game in run: April 14, 2018
PREMIER LEAGUE: ARSENAL – 49 GAMES
This Gunners side were not known as The Invincibles for nothing – they became the first team to go through a full Premier League campaign without losing a single game. Arsene Wenger’s stock may have gone into terminal decline, but these were the glory days for Arsenal, who almost made it 50 games unbeaten only to fall to rivals Manchester United. Not only were this Arsenal outfit tough to beat, they played some scintillating attacking football with Thierry Henry unplayable on his day. That Arsenal have fallen so far since that heady season pains the club’s fans, but they will always have this remarkable era to reflect upon with pride.
Date of last game in run: October 12, 2004
BUNDESLIGA: BAYERN MUNICH – 52 GAMES
Pep Guardiola’s first league defeat in charge of Bayern Munich did not come until April in his debut campaign in Bavaria, a 1-0 loss at Augsburg ending their hopes of going the full season without losing. Bayern promptly lost their next game too – 3-0 at home to rivals Borussia Dortmund – but they still won the title by a massive 19 points from BVB. Bayern had been unbeaten since October 2012 – a truly staggering run of form. Despite that sequence, Guardiola’s time at Bayern was marred by relative failure in Europe, the club unable to reach the Champions League final under the Catalan’s leadership.
Date of last game in run: March 29, 2014
SERIE A: AC MILAN – 58 GAMES
By far the oldest unbeaten run in Europe’s top-five leagues, Serie A’s record is also the longest by a significant distance, AC Milan having gone 58 matches without defeat in the early 1990s. Arrigo Sacchi’s Milan are considered one of the best club sides in football history, but this record actually belongs to his San Siro successor – Fabio Capello. The Italian led Milan to four consecutive Serie A titles as the Rossoneri dominated the division, also collecting the Champions League crown in the 1993-94 season by beating Barcelona in Greece. Unless Barca can stretch their unbeaten run deep into the 2018-19 campaign, Milan’s record looks set to stand for some time to come.
Date of last game in run: March 14, 1993