After breaking the all-time Barcelona record with their 15th consecutive league win, current manager Pep Guardiola now has his sights firmly set on bettering the all-time La Liga record of 15 straight wins set by the glittering Real Madrid side of Di Stefano, Puskas and Gento in the 1960/61 season.
In-form Pedro’s 9th goal in seven games and a brace from Lionel Messi were enough to seal the points in a 3-0 victory win at Hercules, and Guardiola was full of praise for his players as they righted the wrong of a few months ago, when their hosts inflicted the only league defeat of the campaign to date on his team: “There was an especially happy atmosphere amongst the players. This has always been a tricky ground for us and we came into the game after a lot of matches recently but despite all that, the players have again given a great lesson.” He added: “They knew the importance of winning here and the chance of equaling the record gave us an extra incentive.”
After a quick scour of the record books, it is easy to see why this Barcelona side should celebrate their achievement: a vast proportion of records are held by Real Madrid and their players with only the current generation from Catalunya making any sort of impact. To be on a par with the great players of that Madrid era is an admirable feat indeed.
Continuing the theme of record-breaking, the Barca manager was quick to highlight the contribution made by his two goalscorers, who helped the team take the goals tally under his stewardship to over 400: “Pedro is an enormous help to the team and I hope he continues with the scoring touch he’s enjoying.” The 23-year old has now scored 19 goals in what has been a remarkably prolific season. Of his Argentinian protege, Guardiola said: “Messi is a competitive animal. He’s just 23 and he’s scored 164 times. If he carries on like this, he’s going to smash all the records.”
La Blaugrana have a heavy schedule over the course of their potentially record-breaking week: on Wednesday evening they travel to Andalusia where they will play Almeria for a place in the final of the Copa del Rey; after a stunning performance last week, they take a five-goal cushion into their semi-final second leg before hosting Atletico Madrid in La Liga at the weekend.