Have you ever stopped and thought about how impressive a treble actually is?
Winning the league, the cup and the Champions League in the same season is the mark of a truly dominant team.
This feat has been achieved eight times in European football history and we’ve invited four of the best to compete in a prestigious (and completely hypothetical) tournament.
Introducing our entrants:
- Man United 1999
- Barcelona 2009
- Inter Milan 2010
- Bayern Munich 2013
An MSN-inspired Barcelona won the treble in 2015 but competition rules state a maximum of one participant per club and Pep Guardiola’s 2009 crop replied to our email first.
The four clubs will play each other twice in a round robin group and whichever team tops the mini-league after six matchdays will be crowned the ultimate treble winners.
Again, all imaginary.
Nothing between ’em in the early exchanges of this tournament.
Arjen Robben’s late trademark finish after cutting in off the right flank rescued a point for Bayern who struggled to cope with the attacking pedigree of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry.
While at Old Trafford, David Beckham’s 25-yard free-kick cancelled out Diego Milito’s predatory opener in a thrilling draw.
Helmet-enthusiast Cristian Chivu failed to cope with Messi’s quick feet as the Argentine No10 helped himself to a first-half brace at the San Siro.
Inter’s Samuel Eto’o caused Barca plenty of problems while Barca’s Samuel Eto’o caused Inter just as many.
Mario Mandzukic and Jaap Stam’s ding-dong battle was the highlight of an intense fixture in Munich.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Roy Keane swapped shirts at full-time — the mutual respect was there for all to see.
Franck Ribery enjoyed himself in Milan as the ever-adventurous Maicon left acres of space for the Frenchman to explore freely.
Wesley Sneijder’s stunning long-range strike is the goal of the tournament so far but the hosts were forced to settle for a point after Manuel Neuer somehow denied Mario Balotelli in stoppage-time.
Roy Keane was shown a red card for a late challenge on Sergio Busquets at the Camp Nou… though the Spaniard did make the most of the contact.
The man advantage allowed Xavi and Andres Iniesta to get hold of the game as Nicky Butt was forced to chase shadows for the remaining 55 minutes.
3-0 flattered the hosts as Andy Cole squandered a number of good chances at the end of some encouraging counterattacks.
Xherdan Shaqiri was Bayern’s unlikely hero as Jupp Heynckes’ men won a thriller at the Allianz Arena.
The Swiss midfielder scored with his first touch after coming on in the 85th minute to break Catalan hearts after goals from Messi and substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen had overturned a two-goal deficit.
And it proved to be a night for super subs all round after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s expert finish narrowly separated the two teams at the San Siro.
A Jose Mourinho bus-parking masterclass frustrated Barcelona in the early kick-off.
Tempers frayed as Inter’s reluctance to step foot outside their half resulted in Xavi and Iniesta exchanging countless sideways passes.
Quite the opposite at Old Trafford as fans were treated to an attacking exhibition.
Ryan Giggs, Dwight Yorke, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller were all on top form as United and Bayern played out a seven-goal classic.
What drama! Bayern needed just a draw to guarantee the title but Mourinho’s party-poopers were irresistible on the night.
Goran Pandev’s back-post header opened the scoring before Diego Milito’s clinical brace gave the visitors complete control.
Franck Ribery’s dinked finish proved to be a mere consolation as Bayern were left hoping for a United victory or a draw in the late kick-off…
The Germans would have been cock-a-hoop when Dwight Yorke converted David Beckham’s excellent cross with twenty minutes to go.
But Barca were not to be denied.
Messi scored a rebound from his own missed penalty after Gary Neville was unable to deal with Theirry Henry’s pace in a legal fashion.
Then, with five minutes left on the clock, Samuel Eto’o slammed past Peter Schmeichel after capitalising on an error from Ronny Johnsen.
Before we take a look at the league table, let’s check out how the Golden Boot race concluded…
And here’s how they finished up…
Barcelona 2009 edging out Bayern 2013 on goal difference.
The important thing to note is that all these teams would beat pretty much every other team to have ever stepped foot on a pitch.
Right, back to the merciless cruelty of the real world…