The trophies back that up, a European cup, the Spanish Cup, and La Liga. Plus, over the next five months they’d go on to win the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. The only feasible thing they didn’t win: the preseason Spanish Supercopa, La Liga’s answer to the Community Shield.
The style backs it up, too: Their plus-89 goal differential is tied for the best margin across Europe’s Big Five leagues since 2009. Per Stats Perform, their plus-66.15 expected-goal differential is only exceeded by themselves, the following season. But two others things in particular made this team so special. They pressed more aggressively and effectively than any team since 2008, allowing just 6.98 passes per defensive action. And they tilted the field until it was almost perpendicular to the Earth, as only Manchester City’s centurions completed a higher percentage of the final-third passes in their matches: 74 to 74.5 percent.