Guardiola's Barca vs Sacchi's Milan

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Post by The Franchise Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:02 pm

Even the most loyal AC Milan supporters will readily admit that Barcelona is currently a better side than AC Milan.

But how do Pep Guardiola’s men measure up against the legendary Milan that won two successive European Cups in 1989 and 1990?

The monopoly on European football that Barcelona enjoys today, mirrors the iron grip AC Milan had over Europe in the late 80′s.

The coach who built up that all conquering Milan – Ariggo Sacchi – believes his old side was superior to the current Barcelona.

His exact words leave little room for nuance. “I coached the best team in history”.

Is he right? A comparison of the achievements both sides have recorded gives us the definitive answer.

There’s no doubt that Sacchi’s Milan belongs to the best sides in history. Starring Rijkaard, Gullit and Van Basten, and a host of Italian greats like Baresi, Maldini and Donadoni, they dominated European football. But so has Barcelona since Pep’s arrival in 2008. So which of the teams was better for its time?

While it’s always tempting to look at the line-ups and do a player-for-player comparison, that would directly conflict with the whole reason why these sides were so good in the first place: both achieved a perfect synthesis of the collective and the individual. The greatest accomplishment of both Sacchi and Guardiola is convincing their star players that they can shine brightest when doing their duty to the team.

Messi is undoubtedly the world’s greatest player, but it’s Barcelona’s teamplay that is allowing Messi to put his genius on display – as evidenced by his inability to demonstrate his world’s best player-status in the Argentina national team.

The best way to judge their quality, then, is through a comparison of achievements by these two teams.



Barcelona vs AC Milan in Europe

Both Sacchi’s Milan and Pep’s Barca boys have won Europe’s prime competition twice. But in Sacchi’s days, the European Cup was a weakened competition compared to today’s Champions League.

First, only league winners participated in the European Cup. Today’s Champions League features all the great sides of Europe, including four teams from each of England, Germany, Spain and Italy. In Sacchi’s days, many of the best teams were playing in the UEFA Cup or Cup Winners Cup. Sacchi’s Milan itself was a participant of the UEFA Cup in the 1987/88 season – where they incidentally got knocked out by Espanyol.

Second, after the Heysel Drama, all English teams were banned from playing Europe between 1986 and 1990.

As a result, the European Cup was a smaller, shorter, weaker and less prestigious tournament than today’s Champions League. That’s why between 1986 and 1988, small sides such as Steaua, Porto and PSV Eindhoven could grab the trophy. It’s why Milan was faced with the champion of Romania (Steaua) and Portugal (Benfica) in their two European Cup finals. Absolutely unthinkable today.

But Milan’s biggest claim to fame isn’t just winning the finals, it’s that famous trouncing of Real Madrid.

But beating Madrid is hardly something that can impress Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, which has made a habit of beating Los Blancos. In addition, Guardiola’s Barcelona have recorded famous victories over Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Inter, Arsenal (again), Manchester United (again) and AC Milan as well as over a dozen wins against ‘smaller’ sides. Milan’s list of victories is decidedly less impressive.

But the difference between the two sides really shows itself when we take a glance at the domestic leagues.



Barcelona vs Milan in national leagues

The Serie A was the world’s strongest league during Sacchi’s era. .But if AC Milan really was the greatest side in history between 1987 and 1991, surely they should’ve been a dominant force in their own national league?

Instead, they ended third in 1989 (12 points behind Inter), second in 1990 (behind Napoli), and once again second in 1991 (behind Sampdoria). Napoli, Inter and Sampdoria were good sides between 89-91. It’s not a disgrace to lose out to sides of such quality – unless you’re claiming the crown of “the best team of all time”. Then, you’re held to a higher benchmark. You’re expected to dominate all opposition – especially local reivals.

Meanwhile, Guardiola’s Barcelona has won three La Liga’s in a row, in the face of a star-studded Real Madrid that is not just a better team anything Milan faced in Italy, but is itself breaking records – and only lacks the recognition it deserves because it keeps getting beat by Barcelona.

It’s precisely Barcelona’s ability of simultaneously dominating the Champions League and La Liga, that makes it, without question, a superior side to Sacchi’s Milan.

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Post by Harmonica Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:31 pm

Also to be noted, when you compare CL with EC, there is a reason why nobody has retained CL. It's a harder competition.

EC started basicly round 32 so it had fewer games, and there was usually only one team from each country, which meant less overall quality and less teams in form.

That's when you compare it to the later years of EC, the quality cap to start of EC is even bigger.

So basicly CL > EC already by default.
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Post by jibers Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:49 pm

Moot comparison. Both teams playing stylkes are influenced by the different rules in football. The changing in offside rule at the time allowed Saachis Milan Too squeeze opponents and possibly led to the death of the libero. Are you trying to convince people that Barcelona are better. What evidence can you use? Trophies? Players? I want to know.All I know is that when AC Milan played Napoli, they were able to zonally keep Maradona from doing anything so I have no doubt that they would have stopped Messi. Once again playing under those conditions AC MIlan would win, and their backline went on to form possibly the greatest backline in football.

I really don't understand the obbsssession of trying to get people to say that AC MIlan are worse, considering that there are very few people that even watched them here. I will say that Saachi was an innovator, as is Guardiola. Both teams are very similar. So what is the purpose of this. The hype for this Barcelona has to die down. What next? Will you compare Barcelona to 1970s Brazil?

Or will you say that Barcelona are better than Cruyffs Ajax? Moot comparison. Not everyone will accept it and there is no evidence that Barcelona are better than Milan. If we use trophies then Di Stefanos Madrid > and Michels Ajax > hell even Udo Lattek > . Why don't we waut for the cycle to finish first before we start these comparisons with other teams?
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Post by Doc Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:58 pm

Dani should have put a disclaimer that the views expressed in this post does not reflect the views of himself.

Unless he believes in what is written...
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Post by The Franchise Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:31 pm

I posted an article...its that not obvious lol
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Post by The Franchise Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:33 pm

jibers wrote:Moot comparison. Both teams playing stylkes are influenced by the different rules in football. The changing in offside rule at the time allowed Saachis Milan Too squeeze opponents and possibly led to the death of the libero. Are you trying to convince people that Barcelona are better. What evidence can you use? Trophies? Players? I want to know.All I know is that when AC Milan played Napoli, they were able to zonally keep Maradona from doing anything so I have no doubt that they would have stopped Messi. Once again playing under those conditions AC MIlan would win, and their backline went on to form possibly the greatest backline in football.

I really don't understand the obbsssession of trying to get people to say that AC MIlan are worse, considering that there are very few people that even watched them here. I will say that Saachi was an innovator, as is Guardiola. Both teams are very similar. So what is the purpose of this. The hype for this Barcelona has to die down. What next? Will you compare Barcelona to 1970s Brazil?

Or will you say that Barcelona are better than Cruyffs Ajax? Moot comparison. Not everyone will accept it and there is no evidence that Barcelona are better than Milan. If we use trophies then Di Stefanos Madrid > and Michels Ajax > hell even Udo Lattek > . Why don't we waut for the cycle to finish first before we start these comparisons with other teams?

What changes in the offside law?

And why you getting you knickers in a twist...its a article I posted..either agree or dissagree, there no motive here, I havent even said my opinion on the subject ffs.



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Post by Doc Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:42 pm

The Franchise wrote:I posted an article...its that not obvious lol

For an experience member of this board, you should know by now never assume posters would think how you should.

As for the record, I never saw Sacchi's Milan, just the numerous videos about them etc so for me to jump out and write that this article is full of shit and the usual remarks would be wrong of me. I just know that this current Barcelona would be remembered in the same light as Sacchi's Milan.
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Post by The Franchise Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:02 pm

Right..well, seems pretty obvious to me. I would expect people to think the obvious.

The writing style for one..but whatever.
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Post by jibers Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:02 pm

LOL Franch. I wasn't having a go at you mate. It was just a general response. I saw in the thread topic it was someone elses opinion. O and the offside rule of anyone being offside when the ball is played meaning play is stopped would mean Barca wouldnt be able to carry on playing those diagonals to to the forwards/fullbacks. It would be easier to track their forwards, and the offside rule influenced Saachis Milans pressing style.

InB4Arq
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Post by The Franchise Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:19 pm

Fair enough, got the wrong end of the stick. Just to clarify though, this isnt a Barca fan making this, its a neutral opinion.

On the offisde. Just so im sure. Your talking about now how the only person that can be called offside is those who the ball goes to. When back in the day, even if it isnt going to you, you will be called?

I agree by the way, but thought it worth a post because looking at the titles they wont and the manor in which they won them is a better way than player X is better than player Y.

Of course, the article isnt going to conclude who would win in a game if they played. Rather, a look at what they achieved.

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Post by Harmonica Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:08 pm

An imaginary tournament of 16 of all time great teams by Jonathan Wilson

Part I http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jonathan_wilson/06/20/alltime.tournament/index.html#tyntHFL
Part II http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jonathan_wilson/06/28/alltimetournament.part2/index.html
Part III
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jonathan_wilson/07/04/alltimetournament.part3/index.html
Part IV
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jonathan_wilson/07/11/alltimetournament.part4/index.html

Read it some time ago, might interest you.
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Post by The Franchise Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:26 pm

I respect Wilsons opinion so much and both of his books are amazing, but I dont see how anyone can come to this conclusion.

Its impossible.

But at least he does admit, its guess work and doesnt claim it to be anything more.

So I respect him for trying and at the very least it gives people information at some of the old great sides.
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Post by jibers Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:07 pm

The Franchise wrote:I respect Wilsons opinion so much and both of his books are amazing, but I dont see how anyone can come to this conclusion.

Its impossible.

But at least he does admit, its guess work and doesnt claim it to be anything more.

So I respect him for trying and at the very least it gives people information at some of the old great sides.

Read that thing a long time ago and its BS, the imaginary tournament is so silly. Barcelona would walk on Ajax ffs. The thing that seperated ajax form most of their opponents was their fitness. Barcelona wouldn't let them see the ball, and by todays standards their pressing was more harrasment than systematic.
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Post by The Franchise Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:22 am

True, but at least he does say its pure guesswork.

I think its best served as a tool for people to get an understand of the styles of some great past teams.

Of course, the tournament idea leaves you with a multitude of issues.
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Post by steve_smith Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:42 am

There is absolutey no way!!!!!! you can compare dominating this La Liga to winning in the serie A of the 80s and 90s

the Serie A of the 80s and 90s was the MOST DOMINANT league of all time. This la liga has 2 good teams and 1 of them has been good for only 2 years now.

Let's get that straight first.

secondly, that Milan team was tailored made to defeat this great Barca side. The best back 4 ever would put the wall up and Gullit and Van Basten would light them up on the counter.

Of course most everyone here today will say Barca would win because they didn't live through the serie a of the 80s/90s. But i lived through both eras and I'd go with Milan. It's debatable and there is no telling for sure.


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Post by dostoevsky Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:37 am

I'm not meaning to dismiss the point of the article, but what sort of argument can be built from saying that Barcelona are up against a more formidable opponent in the league with a 'star-studded' Real Madrid side better than anything that Milan side faced. Leagues aren't decided in a few games and to try and sum up the difficult of competing in a league by comparing two rivals is ridiculous. The depth of the league is just as important as the strength of a rival. Not to mention that Sampdoria were a good side but incomparable with this Madrid? Sampdoria reached the final of the European Cup, more than Madrid have done in the past three years that they've been competing against Barcelona in La Liga.

Does this mean that I think that Milan were the superior team? Not at all and the point may have merit, but it's been presented in the article in a completely juvenile fashion.

The point he makes is actually an important one, at the very least depending on whether one is comparing which team were more dominant in their era or which would triumph against each other. Discussing dominance of their own eras doesn't require impossible comparisons of different times and it's all that I think fair to do. Barcelona have been unbelievably dominant over the past three, coming on four, years and are undoubtedly one of the best teams in history. The only reason I don't call them the best in history is because I don't believe that you can name a single team.

The ability to respond to the challenge of each new truly great team would have been the biggest challenge for each 'great' team in history. It's pointless to say that Barcelona or Milan or Ajax's style would have walked over the other team, as if the coach is some sort of computer program who would send out their default team to be completely slaughtered by their opponent. Physically, tactically and technically, if all of these teams were put into the same era, they'd push each other to new heights. Hypothetical situations can only make a judgement based on what they did against the teams of their day, it can never compensate for the team's ability to respond to the challenge of the next era.

It would be chauvinist of myself to suggest that Sacchi's team would defeat Barcelona because we have the greatest defence in history. We controlled great players, but different players. No team is unbeatable, even teams who rise to the big occasions such as Barcelona and Milan. It's reasonable to compare a squad and ask how they might have responded to each other - something which would be a fantastic debate - however not to simply apply their tactical stereotype to the game as if they're teams stuck on train tracks, unable to respond to change.
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Post by The Franchise Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:25 am

Great post Doest.

That is really why I do not use titles to compare players from different eras.

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Post by urbaNRoots Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:29 am

Barcelona '11 -- What would have happened had it not been for the volcanic eruption that forced Pep Guardiola's side to travel by bus to face Internazionale in the Champions League semifinal last year.

Stopped reading after this.

Anyway would be nice if Arquitecto joined this discussion. Great thread.
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Post by jibers Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:11 am

The Franchise wrote:
jibers wrote:Moot comparison. Both teams playing stylkes are influenced by the different rules in football. The changing in offside rule at the time allowed Saachis Milan Too squeeze opponents and possibly led to the death of the libero. Are you trying to convince people that Barcelona are better. What evidence can you use? Trophies? Players? I want to know.All I know is that when AC Milan played Napoli, they were able to zonally keep Maradona from doing anything so I have no doubt that they would have stopped Messi. Once again playing under those conditions AC MIlan would win, and their backline went on to form possibly the greatest backline in football.

I really don't understand the obbsssession of trying to get people to say that AC MIlan are worse, considering that there are very few people that even watched them here. I will say that Saachi was an innovator, as is Guardiola. Both teams are very similar. So what is the purpose of this. The hype for this Barcelona has to die down. What next? Will you compare Barcelona to 1970s Brazil?

Or will you say that Barcelona are better than Cruyffs Ajax? Moot comparison. Not everyone will accept it and there is no evidence that Barcelona are better than Milan. If we use trophies then Di Stefanos Madrid > and Michels Ajax > hell even Udo Lattek > . Why don't we waut for the cycle to finish first before we start these comparisons with other teams?

What changes in the offside law?

And why you getting you knickers in a twist...its a article I posted..either agree or dissagree, there no motive here, I havent even said my opinion on the subject ffs.




Yes. O btw Franch why are you posting articles without a link?

Wathcing that Milan side was amazing. But I consider Capellos Milan to be a different side, albeit a very cynical side. The 4-0 thrashing of the dream team was so unexpected and UN ITALIAN. No one expected them to win. It was almost as unbelievable as Madrid beating Juve in 98 final.

What I like about both teams is the dutch influence in both sides. Saachi even admitted that he was inspired by Ajax. Albeit I think his Milan side surpassed them. The thing is that most people will only remember what is happening today and the heroes of yester years will be replaced by those of today. We just need to accept that there were teams that were the best in their eras, and tbh, unless Barcelona rteain the Cl, what would thy have done that would put them in that bracket?
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Post by The Franchise Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:15 am

jibers wrote:
The Franchise wrote:
jibers wrote:Moot comparison. Both teams playing stylkes are influenced by the different rules in football. The changing in offside rule at the time allowed Saachis Milan Too squeeze opponents and possibly led to the death of the libero. Are you trying to convince people that Barcelona are better. What evidence can you use? Trophies? Players? I want to know.All I know is that when AC Milan played Napoli, they were able to zonally keep Maradona from doing anything so I have no doubt that they would have stopped Messi. Once again playing under those conditions AC MIlan would win, and their backline went on to form possibly the greatest backline in football.

I really don't understand the obbsssession of trying to get people to say that AC MIlan are worse, considering that there are very few people that even watched them here. I will say that Saachi was an innovator, as is Guardiola. Both teams are very similar. So what is the purpose of this. The hype for this Barcelona has to die down. What next? Will you compare Barcelona to 1970s Brazil?

Or will you say that Barcelona are better than Cruyffs Ajax? Moot comparison. Not everyone will accept it and there is no evidence that Barcelona are better than Milan. If we use trophies then Di Stefanos Madrid > and Michels Ajax > hell even Udo Lattek > . Why don't we waut for the cycle to finish first before we start these comparisons with other teams?

What changes in the offside law?

And why you getting you knickers in a twist...its a article I posted..either agree or dissagree, there no motive here, I havent even said my opinion on the subject ffs.




Yes. O btw Franch why are you posting articles without a link?

Wathcing that Milan side was amazing. But I consider Capellos Milan to be a different side, albeit a very cynical side. The 4-0 thrashing of the dream team was so unexpected and UN ITALIAN. No one expected them to win. It was almost as unbelievable as Madrid beating Juve in 98 final.

What I like about both teams is the dutch influence in both sides. Saachi even admitted that he was inspired by Ajax. Albeit I think his Milan side surpassed them. The thing is that most people will only remember what is happening today and the heroes of yester years will be replaced by those of today. We just need to accept that there were teams that were the best in their eras, and tbh, unless Barcelona rteain the Cl, what would thy have done that would put them in that bracket?

Because im lazy and I assumed it was obvious I didnt write it lol

What would of Barca done to put them in Milans bracket?

Win more?

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Post by Jack Daniels Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:17 am

Buy CR7 albino

I know you wanna, i know you wanna
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Post by The Franchise Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:20 am

Guardiola's Barca vs Sacchi's Milan FBFwB
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Post by Forza Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:20 pm

not only did that team thrash madrid 4-0, we held them in madrid 1-1 in the game before. those games were legit, no fluke.

IMO the capello team of 91-92 was just as good... undefeated run of 58 games including an unbeaten season. won serie A by 8 pts. they continued the winning streak into 1993, then won the CL in 93-94... they won the final 4-0... against Barca.
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Post by The Franchise Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:53 pm

I agree the Capello team was just as good but Sacchi sort of reinvented the wheel so understandably he gets more credit.

The high pressing was something never seen before in Italy up untill that point.
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Post by jibers Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:22 pm

The Franchise wrote:I agree the Capello team was just as good but Sacchi sort of reinvented the wheel so understandably he gets more credit.

The high pressing was something never seen before in Italy up untill that point.

Capellos team was better imho. I remmeebr sometimes I used to go to sleep watching them but THAT Team had the best conventional backline in I have ever seen. The thing is that Saachis Milan, no matter what you say about how STRONg series A was never really culd win the league and in 1990 they were fortunate to even be in the CL due to their win beforehand. Capello showed you could win both home and abroad. I for one don't consider Saachis MIlan to be in the upper echleons of the other great teams.

Teams such as Real Madrid of the 60s, Gutmanns Benfica, hereras Inter, CMichels Ajax and Bayern showed what a truly dominating team was all about. The problem with milan I feel is that their playing style contributed to their own eventually cycle ending. The rigourous discipline and mental concentration required to keep up the pressing was stupendous, even going back and rewatching some of the games you can see why, When they lost matches they usually lost to opponents exploiting their fatigue.

I just wish Lippis Juve beat Madrid and Dortmund, we could have been talking about them being the best team of all time, instead one of the worst Madrid sides I have ever seen agaisnt all odds triumphed :facepalm:
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