FC Barcelona are in London where they face Chelsea this evening in a match-up which has become something of a modern classic in the game. The Londoners have enjoyed a great deal of success in recent times with their trophy haul somewhat limited pre the arrival of Roman Abramovich. When the European Cup was devised, Chelsea won the English title with the owner at the time Alan Hardaker deciding to decline participation in the competition. Following the success of the inaugural European Cup, it was Manchester United who represented England the followung season with "the Blues" having to wait some time until their next participation in European football's most prestigious club competition.
Ovrebo in 2009
When Chelsea became a regular name in the Champions League they seem to be destined to meet Barça at some stage of the competition. A similar fate has befallen Real Madrid and Bayern Munich by a similar quirk of the draw process, Chelsea and Barcelona have been drawn together on six occasions since 2000 ahead of tonight's last 16 first leg at Stamford Bridge with plenty of memorable games and talking points being generated from the match-ups over the years. The standout is possibly the referring performance in May 2009 from Tom Hening Ovrebo. A 1-1 draw saw the Catalan side progress on the away goals rule but I fail to recall a poorer display from a match official in all my time watching major European games.
It was during these games where Mourinho established himself as public enemy No.1 for Barcelona fans. He did little to endear himself to the Culés when he claimed that Messi dived after a savage challenge from Asier Del Horno on the Argentine. A late Fernando Torres goal at Camp Nou in the 2012 semi-final provided another layer of drama with El Niño's late goal eliminating Barcelona with the last kick of the game at a packed stadium. Barça head into the Stamford Bridge clash with Argentine Lionel Messi never having scored against the South West London side, just another ingredient in making this game somewhat extra special.