Here’s how to beat Barcelona in the Catalan capital
A look back over their 10 home defeats in 15 years of matches at Camp Nou in Catalonia
The Barcelona team before their last home defeat, against Real Betis last November. Photograph: Getty Images
Manchester United have already written a piece of European Cup history this season, becoming the first team to overturn a 2-0 home defeat in the second leg to eliminate Paris Saint-Germain. Now to progress beyond Barcelona, they will need to win at Camp Nou – something visiting teams have done only 15 times in the last 10 years.
May 2009: Barcelona 0-1 Osasuna (La Liga)
Matching this scoreline on Tuesday would take the game to extra time, but United fans may prefer to forget this fixture. Pep Guardiola’s side were already champions when an under-strength team featuring Bojan and Aleksandr Hleb lost to a Walter Pandiani header. Four days later Barça beat United 2-0 in the Champions League final.
October 2009: Barça 1-2 Rubin Kazan (Champions League)
The lesson to be learned here is to strike early. Aleksandr Ryazantsev’s thunderbolt after two minutes was eventually cancelled out by Zlatan Ibrahimovic but, as the hosts poured forward, Gökdeniz Karadeniz struck on the break. Barcelona still went on to top the group.
January 2010: Barcelona 1-2 Sevilla (Copa del Rey, last 16 first leg)
Sevilla lost 1-0 at home against Barça and still prevailed over two legs. An experimental Barcelona side were beaten when Dmytro Chygrynskiy hauled Diego Capel down in the area and Álvaro Negredo converted the penalty. Sevilla went on to win the Cup.
September 2010: Barça 0-2 Hércules (La Liga)
Barcelona’s biggest home league defeat in the past 10 years came against the most unlikely of opponents, as a goal in each half from Nelson Valdez earned victory for the La Liga newcomers. Guardiola paid the price for leaving Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Carles Puyol on the bench against a team who are now in Spain’s third division.
Apr 2012: Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid (La Liga)
Four of the 15 defeats have been inflicted by Barcelona’s arch-rivals, starting with a win that ended Guardiola’s run of titles. Moments after Alexis Sánchez had equalised, Cristiano Ronaldo ran onto Mesut Özil’s through ball and rounded Victor Valdés to score. In the following week Barça were dumped out of the Champions League by Chelsea, and Guardiola resigned.
Feb 2013: Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid (Copa del Rey semi-final, second leg)
Two familiar foes combined to fire Real into the Copa del Rey final after a 1-1 first-leg draw at the Bernabéu. Ronaldo scored twice as Mourinho’s team outclassed their opponents. It all unravelled for Mourinho soon after, though - Real lost the Cup final to Atlético, fell in the Champions League semi-finals and saw Barça win the title by 15 points.
May 2013: Barça 0-3 Bayern Munich (Champions League semi-final, second leg)
While Madrid were undone by Dortmund in the other semi-final, Barcelona kicked off at the Camp Nou with a four-goal first-leg deficit. Lionel Messi failed a late fitness test before Arjen Robben’s opener ended the tie as a contest. Barça went on to suffer their biggest home defeat of the decade against the team Guardiola would join that summer.
Feb 2014: Barcelona 2-3 Valencia (La Liga)
A full-strength Barcelona team were beaten by three quickfire goals in a defeat that came in a run of four wins in nine under Tata Martino. Alexis Sánchez’s opener was cancelled out by Dani Parejo, before Pablo Piatti and Paco Alcácer struck either side of Messi’s penalty. Jordi Alba was later sent off, and Barca’s patchy form allowed Atlético to claim a memorable title.
Nov 2014: Barcelona 0-1 Celta (La Liga); Feb 2015: Barcelona 0-1 Malaga (La Liga)
These two defeats were rare blips in Luis Enrique’s treble-winning 2014-15 season. Celta spoiled Luis Suárez’s home debut as the hosts were undone by Joaquin Larrivey’s winner while the defeat against Málaga came days before a Champions League away victory at Manchester City. Juanmi pounced on Dani Alves’s poor backpass in the 8th minute and with Messi below par, the hosts could not respond. Barcelona’s only other dropped home points all season came in the final-day 2-2 draw with Deportivo.
Apr 2016: Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid (La Liga); Apr 2016: Barcelona 1-2 Valencia (La Liga)
April 2016 was a dreadful month for Barcelona, bookended by the deaths of Johan Cruyff and Manel Vich, the “voice of the Camp Nou”. On the field, they went out of the Champions League and lost three league games in a row. Real won despite Sergio Ramos’s red card as Ronaldo’s late goal earned Zinedine Zidane victory in his first clásico. Valencia had lost 7-0 at the Camp Nou in the Cup, but led 2-0 at the break after Santi Mina struck in first-half stoppage time. Messi’s 500th senior goal proved to be in vain, but Barcelona rallied to retain the title.
Sep 2016: Barcelona 1-2 Alavés (La Liga)
Luis Enrique paid the price for resting Messi and Suárez against Mauricio Pellegrino’s promoted side, who won through Ibai Gómez’s strike an hour in. Jeremy Mathieu cancelled out Deyverson’s opener but also missed a glorious chance, while Messi put a late shot wide after coming off the bench.
Aug 2017: Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid (Spanish Super Cup, first leg)
Ernesto Valverde’s first home game in charge ended in defeat, as Messi’s penalty cancelled out a Gerard Piqué own goal before Ronaldo returned to haunt the hosts with a spectacular solo effort. Ronaldo was booked for his celebration, and then for simulation as he was sent off - but Marco Asensio added a third late on.
Nov 2018: Barcelona 3-4 Real Betis (La Liga)
Without Cristiano Ronaldo in your team, the best chance of success at the Camp Nou is to soak up pressure and take the few chances that come your way. Real Betis showed there is another way earlier this season, taking the game to Barça and went 2-0 up in a breathtaking first-half display before goals from Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Canales helped them over the line.