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Barcelona's best routs of English opposition

Goal.com

One of the season's most eagerly antipicated clashes takes place Tuesday as Barcelona travels to Manchester City in the last 16 of the Champions League.

With both sides locked in fierce battles for their league titles and with domestic cup finals to look forward to also, the midweek showdown at the Etihad Stadium could go a long way to showing which of the free-scoring duo can harbor realistic hopes of challenging for continental glory.

Barcelona is no stranger to English opposition and, during the past 50 years, has enjoyed some memorable results - including a 4-0 thrashing of Leeds in 2001 in which former Barca and Netherlands striker Patrick Kluivert, who will be tweeting live on Tuesday's encounter, scored twice.

In honor of one of Kluivert's most famous matches, Goal takes a look at Barcelona's biggest wins against English opposition...

Barcelona 6-0 London XI – Inter Cities Fairs Cup Final 1958


In the early years of European football between 1955-58, a specially created team of London-based club players, named London XI, took part in the UEFA Cup's precursor – the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

The very first edition painfully took three years to complete and resulted in a two-legged final between London XI and Barcelona. The English representatives, who contained the likes of Tottenham's Danny Blanchflower, Chelsea's Jimmy Greaves and Fulham's Johnny Haynes drew 2-2 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge.

Unfortunately for them, they were then unceremoniously thumped 6-0 in the return leg at the Nuovo Estadio. Future Inter legend Luis Suarez scored twice, while Brazilian star Evaristo (2), Marti Verges and Eulogio Martinez also got on the scoresheet.

Barcelona 4-0 Leeds – Champions League group stage 2001


Back in the days when Leeds United was carelessly spending huge sums of money in order to compete on the continent, it was to have one memorable European season in 2000-01 in which it progressed all the way to the semifinals of the Champions League.

However, its Group H campaign started disastrously as the club was battered 4-0 at Camp Nou. Rivaldo was at his brilliant best to open the scoring and Frank de Boer added a second before two second-half goals from Patrick Kluivert. Despite this memorable start to the campaign, Barca was eliminated, with Leeds squeezing through to the next round behind AC Milan.

Barcelona 5-0 Chelsea – Inter-Cities Fairs Cup semifinal 1966


Barcelona certainly enjoyed itself in Spain against English teams in the 1950s and 60s. In the 1960 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final the Blaugrana blitzed Birmingham City 4-1 at home, while in the same year they crushed Wolves 9-2 on aggregate in the European Cup quarterfinal.

Barcelona's joy continued in the 1966 Inter Cities Fairs Cup semifinal against Chelsea. After both teams had won their respective home legs 2-0, a one-match playoff was required to settle the tie.

Barca won the toss, meaning it would play at home, and Chelsea likely felt it may as well not have turned up at Camp Nou after shipping five goals without reply. The Catalans, who went on to win the competition, included in their lineup Uruguayan defender Julio Cesar Benitez who died in tragic circumstances at the age of 27 two years later.

Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal - Champions League quarterfinal 2010


Pep Guardiola's brilliant Barca side put Arsenal to the sword in the second leg of their quarterfinal tie four years ago in a game which arguably launched the best years of Lionel Messi's career.

Two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic had put Barca in control at the Emirates in the first leg before Theo Walcott and a late Cesc Fabregas penalty salvaged a draw. In the return at Camp Nou, Nicklas Bendtner stunned the home crowd to hand his side the lead on aggregate, until Messi - deployed in a central position by Guardiola for the encounter - destroyed the Gunners with a devastating 20-minute salvo.

After lashing a fierce shot past Manuel Almunia, Messi finished a move he started thanks to Pedro's set up before completing his hat trick with a delightful chipped finish over the stranded keeper. The Argentine then added a fourth after bursting through the Gunners defense and finishing at the second attempt.

Barca was knocked out in the semifinals by Jose Mourinho's Inter, but Messi's career as the central spearhead of the team's attack had only just begun.

Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea – Champions League quarterfinal 2000


One of the best ties of the 2000-01 Champions League season, and one of the greatest comebacks in recent years. A Gianfranco Zola-inspired Chelsea had raced into a 3-0 lead in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, before it eventually won the game 3-1 to seize control of the tie.

In the second leg at Camp Nou, Barcelona recovered further to go 2-0 up at halftime thanks to Rivaldo's free kick and Luis Figo's rebound. But, on the hour mark, Tore Andre Flo capitalized on goalkeeper Ruud Hesp's error to put Chelsea ahead in the tie again.

The Blues looked set to hold on, but with seven minutes remaining substitute Dani headed home. Two minutes later, Rivaldo missed a penalty so the game went into extra time, where Barca ran riot - a penalty from Rivaldo after Celestine Babayaro's red card and a Kluivert header finished Chelsea off.

Barcelona 4-0 Man Utd – Champions League group stage 1995


The European ban following the Heysel disaster in 1985 had affected English clubs badly, and it would be many years until they truly found their feet again. This was illustrated in 1995 when United, the dominant side in England, was knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages, finishing below IFK Gotenborg and Barcelona. In the two games against the Blaugrana, the difference in class was startling.

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United scraped a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford thanks to an impudent backheel by Lee Sharpe after Romario and Jose Maria Bakero had turned around Mark Hughes' opener, but in the return clash at Camp Nou, Johan Cruyff's 'Dream Team' handed their counterparts a footballing lesson with a crushing 4-0 win.

Hristo Stoichkov (2), Romario and Albert Ferrer grabbed the goals in a game which signaled one of Sir Alex Ferguson's worst decisions as manager of United when, because of the three-foreigner rule, he dropped iconic goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel in favor of the hapless Gary Walsh.

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