What looked almost impossible in March now seems probable, if not inevitable, with Manchester City inexorably marching towards a historic treble.
Pep Guardiola’s rampant side thrashed Premier League leaders Arsenal 4-1 on Wednesday night to narrow the gap to only two points with two games in hand.
Since a 1-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur in early February, the back-to-back English champions have hit a purple patch, racking up 14 wins and three draws in their last 17 competitive outings.
During that stretch, Man City set up a mouth-watering Champions League semi-final tie against reigning holders Real Madrid and an all-Manchester FA Cup title decider against Manchester United.
The Red Devils can halt the Cityzens’ bid for glory and ensure that Old Trafford remains the only English ground to house those three trophies in the same season.
Led by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, Man Utd won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in 1999, setting an unprecedented feat in English football history.
No one came close to matching their outstanding record for years before Liverpool’s ill-fated quadruple pursuit last season.
After winning the FA Cup and League Cup, Jurgen Klopp’s side lost in the Champions League showpiece to Madrid and saw Man City pip them to the Premier League title in the most bizarre fashion on the final weekend.
Guardiola’s team spoiled Liverpool’s party in 2021/22, but they now have a golden opportunity to throw one of their own and become only the fifth club in Europe’s top-five leagues to claim the continental treble.
Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Man Utd are the only members of this exclusive club.
Let’s see how and when they booked their membership.
Manchester United – 1998/99
Widely considered the benchmark of Man Utd teams, Ferguson’s golden generation went from a trophyless 1997/98 campaign to writing their names down in history books the following year.
Captained by Roy Keane and inspired by a formidable duo – Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke – the Red Devils won the Champions League without losing a game.
An iconic injury-time comeback against Bayern in the grand final staged by Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains one of the most memorable Champions League moments.
United edged Arsenal in a breathtaking Premier League title race by a single point after stringing a mind-blowing 20-game unbeaten league run (W14, D6).
All that was left to do to reach immortality was oust Newcastle United in the FA Cup title decider, and with confidence oozing out of every pore, there was never any doubt.
Sheringham and Paul Scholes scored on either side of half-time at Wembley Stadium to achieve the unthinkable.
Barcelona – 2008/09 & 2014/15
Man United may be the first club to win the continental treble, but their successors Barcelona have done that twice under two different managers.
Ten years after Ferguson’s standout success, up-and-coming manager Pep Guardiola guided what many consider the ‘greatest team ever’ to the first treble in Spanish football history.
With Lionel Messi leading the front line and Xavi and Andres Iniesta pulling the strings in the midfield, the Blaugrana steamrolled to the La Liga title, leaving second-placed Madrid nine points behind.
They also conquered the Copa del Rey crown unscratched, brushing Athletic Bilbao aside with an overwhelming 4-1 triumph in the final to get a step away from replicating United’s feat.
Although the Red Devils could’ve stopped Barcelona in their tracks when the two sides locked horns in the Rome final, Ferguson’s team never stood a chance, going down 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.
Guardiola left Spotify Camp Nou soon after, but the Catalan powerhouse found a way to do what no one had done before, adding another treble to the tally in 2014/15.
Another former Barca player Luis Enrique was at the helm as they won 94 points to beat Madrid to the league title, overcame Bilbao in another Copa del Rey final and squeezed past Juventus in the Champions League showpiece.
Inter Milan – 2009/10
While the whole country was still recovering from the infamous ‘Calciopoli’ scandal, one team elevated itself to a brand new level to accomplish what many dubbed impossible.
Jose Mourinho joined Inter as a serial winner, having won everything there was to win with Porto before leading Chelsea to Premier League glory.
But not in his wildest dreams could’ve he imagined that his career-defining season would come at Giuseppe Meazza of all places.
With AC Milan and Juventus licking their wounds after ‘Calciopoli’ crippled their teams and threw some of their officials, a fifth consecutive Serie A title was never in doubt.
Mourinho’s men conceded once en route to lifting the Coppa Italia trophy for the third time in the 21st century, squeaking past Roma 1-0 in the final.
But going all the way in the Champions League for the first time since 1964/65 was the tricky part.
Inter had to navigate past Chelsea and Barcelona in the knockout stages before facing a star-studded Bayern in the showpiece fixture.
Against all the odds, Mourinho’s team stunned the Bavarians 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu as Diego Milito’s match-winning double carved his name in the Nerazzurri folklore for eternity.
Bayern Munich – 2012/13 & 2019/20
Bayern became the last European club to win the treble when Jupp Heynckes architected the best season in German football history in 2012/13.
The record-time German champions made the Bundesliga their playing ground, clocking a staggering 91 points after only losing once in 34 games to leave second-placed Borussia Dortmund 25 points behind.
Die Borussen proved no match for the Bavarians, not only on the domestic front but also in Europe, as Klopp’s men fell to a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat in an all-German Champions League final in London.
Winning the DFB-Pokal was the easiest part of the equation as Bayern cruised to the cup title with all six wins and a +17 goal difference.
Although the 2019/20 campaign didn’t start well for the Munich outfit, the club’s decision to replace underperforming manager Niko Kovac with the inexperienced Hans-Dieter Flick midway through the season proved a history-defining moment.
In his first season in charge of Bayern, Flick helped the club become the second team alongside Barcelona to win a pair of trebles, and in what manner!
The Bavarians collected 13 points more than runners-up Dortmund to land an eighth straight Bundesliga title and breezed past Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 in the DFB-Pokal final.
But Bayern truly excelled in Europe.
In a season plagued by the coronavirus pandemic, they humbled Barcelona 8-2 in a memorable Champions League quarter-final tie and went on to beat an all-star Paris Saint-Germain side 1-0 in the final.
- Guardiola insists Man City ‘will give everything’ to lift FA Cup trophy
- Bordeaux vs Rodez Ligue 2 match abandoned: Fan-player altercation leaves striker Lucas Buades concussed
- Sergio Ramos set to leave PSG at the end of the season
- Chelsea plot a midfield revamp with Manuel Ugarte and Moises Caicedo
- Juventus eye Man Utd target Rasmus Hojlund to replace Dusan Vlahovic