When Barcelona kicked off 2015 with a loss to Real Sociedad in Donosti on the 4th of January, little had people envisaged what was to unravel in the next twelve months.
In that 1–0 loss at Anoeta, Barça had Leo Messi and Neymar on the bench, with Luis Suárez, Pedro and Munir El Haddadi leading the Blaugrana attack. As a matter of fact, the trio of Messi, Suárez and Neymar had only started five games together before that game.
The tides soon changed for the better, as the MSN trident led Barça to a glut of top level silverware, culminating in the year’s last available trophy, the Club World Cup. If winning the Liga title, the Copa Del Rey, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup doesn’t add much context, the trident’s total of 134 goals in 2015 offers a perspective.
Since that David Moyes-led incineration in the cold January evening, Barça managed to lose just twice in the remainder of the 2014/15 season, while the trident rampaged through Barça’s opponents with such regularity that records tumbled left, right and centre. Messi, Suarez and Neymar ended last season with a combined 122 goals and 55 assists, the highest-ever tally in the history of the club.
They provided moments of magic with alarming consistency as Barça steamrollered their opponents consummately en route to winning their second treble of the Liga, Copa Del Rey and the Champions League for the second time in the space of six years. While Barca’s treble winners of 2008/09 had a distinct narrative of their footballing style, this year’s treble winners can be summed up in three simple names: Messi-Suárez-Neymar.
Never in the modern game has a team been so offensively dominant, with effusive praises showered in the trident’s direction from almost every corner of the globe. According to web sources, the current cumulative worth of the MSN trident stands at 310 million euros, which, although vague and inaccurate, provides a measure of how much the three South Americans at Barça weigh.
Barça created history when they became the first Spanish club to win the treble in 2009, and they sustained their success for the best part of a decade until they rewrote history again this year by becoming the first European club to do a double of the treble, and they owe much of their recent success to the MSN trident.
Eight games into the 2014/15 season, all three of Messi, Suárez and Neymar hadn’t even taken the pitch together. And a little more than a year on, the trident can rightfully stake their claim on a piece of Blaugrana history. They have recreated the Barça aura which faded following Pep Guardiola’s departure from the club; they have ushered in a new era of Barca’s global dominance.
With an average age of 26, the trident has plenty of years ahead to assert its dominance on world football, as if it hasn’t already. The fact the trident hasn’t rested on last season’s laurels is testament to their greatness. A year in football to be remembered so much because of the contributions and achievements of the trident.
Whatever happens in the remaining days of 2015, however bizarre it may be, the MSN trident rightfully takes its place as the foremost entertainers in football this calendar year. Right from the disappointment of the Real Sociedad loss to winning the Champions League in Berlin to Messi getting injured to Suárez putting the finishing touches against River Plate, every sweat and tear of joy this year has had a MSN narrative.
Seldom do we talk of partnerships in such grand scale, but the MSN trident has transcended small football talk by producing history book stuff right throughout the year.While Barça can proudly call themselves the best club of the year, their smaller, three-man team within the team has made their jaw-dropping success on the pitch possible.