Manchester United came through an engrossing Europa League playoff tie against Barcelona with a 4-3 aggregate win over the La Liga side.
United’s record against Barcelona has left fans with bad memories in recent years after Pep Guardiola’s side ruthlessly beat them in two Champions League finals.
Yet the Red Devils’ revenge for those defeats was sweet as they claimed a decisive 2-1 win at a raucous Old Trafford on February 23.
Barcelona vs Man United history
In total, Barcelona and Manchester United have faced each other 15 times, with Barcelona winning six, compared to United’s four, alongside five draws.
Within the list, there has been 10 Champions League clashes, from 1994 to 2019, and three previous meetings in the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Despite some positivity for United in their early skirmishes with Barcelona, the La Liga superpower have dominated during the Premier League era, with success in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals.
Both finals were painted as the two best teams in Europe going toe-to-toe, in Rome and London respectively, but United were blown away in both showpiece games.
United’s double final woe — Messi the King of London and Rome
Samuel Eto’o’s early goal set the tempo in the 2009 Champions League final, at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, but Lionel Messi’s late winner went down as the iconic moment, as United’s European title defence fell short.
Xavi’s inch perfect cross freed the Argentinian, and despite his diminutive size, he netted a superb header past the towering Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar.
🔵🔴 #OTD in 2009, Barcelona become champions in Rome 🏆
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 27, 2020
The 2011 meeting at Wembley was viewed as United’s chance at payback, after winning the Premier League by a nine-point margin, as Barcelona edged out Real Madrid in La Liga.
But again, Guardiola’s all conquering side were too much for Sir Alex Ferguson’s United, as they stormed home at Wembley.
Pedro’s early goal was cancelled out by Wayne Rooney’s superb leveller, before Messi slalomed through to put Barcelona back in front, and David Villa wrapped it up late on.
🔵🔴 Barcelona claim their 4th European crown #OTD in 2011 🏆
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 28, 2020
Barcelona vs Man United head-to-head
Two final defeats underlined the gap between Barcelona and United — and the rest of Europe — at the time and Messi again turned on the style to dump United out of the 2018/19 Champions League, with a superb double at the Camp Nou in the quarterfinals.
Recent history does not have much positivity for United, but they have enjoyed their moments, including Paul Scholes’ 2008 bullet at Old Trafford which knocked Barcelona out and put United on course for glory in Moscow.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 15, 2019
The atmosphere at Old Trafford was similarly defeaning on February 23 after goals from Fred and Antony overturned a 1-0 deficit and sent them through to the 2022/23 Europa League Round of 16.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) February 23, 2023
And despite not facing Barcelona, the Camp Nou was the venue for United’s greatest ever European night, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stole the show against Bayern Munich to seal a 2-1 win.
🎙️ “Beckham, into Sheringham… AND SOLSKJÆR HAS WON IT!” 🎙️
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 26, 2019
|Feb. 23, 2023||UEFA Europa League||Man United 2
|Lewandowski (18), Fred (47), Antony (73)|
|Feb. 16, 2023||UEFA Europa League||Barcelona 2
Man United 2
|Alonso (50), Rashford (52) Kounde OG (59), Raphinha (76)|
|Apr. 16, 2019||UEFA Champions League||Barcelona 3 Man United 0||Messi (16, 20), Coutinho (61)|
|Apr. 10, 2019||UEFA Champions League||Man United 0 Barcelona 1||Shaw O.G. (12)|
|May. 28, 2011||UEFA Champions League||Barcelona 3 Man United 1||Pedro (27), Messi (54), Villa (69); Rooney (34)|
|May. 27, 2009||UEFA Champions League||Barcelona 2 Man United 0||Eto’o (10), Messi (70)|
|Apr. 29, 2008||UEFA Champions League||Man United 1 Barcelona 0||Scholes (14)|
|Apr. 23, 2008||UEFA Champions League||Barcelona 0 Man United 0||N/A|
|Nov. 25, 1998||UEFA Champions League||Barcelona 3 Man United 3||Anderson (1), Rivaldo (57, 73); Yorke (25, 68), Cole (53)|
|Sep. 16, 1998||UEFA Champions League||Man United 3 Barcelona 3||Giggs (17), Scholes (24), Beckham (64); Anderson (47), Giovanni (60 pen), Enrique (71 pen)|
|Nov. 2, 1994||UEFA Champions League||Barcelona 4 Man United 0||Stoichkov (9, 52), Romario (45), Ferrer (88)|
|Oct. 19,1994||UEFA Champions League||Man United 2 Barcelona 2||Hughes (20), Sharpe (80); Romario (34), Bakero (49)|
|May. 15, 1991||UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup||Barcelona 1 Man United 2||Hughes (67, 74); Koeman (79)|
|Mar. 24, 1981||UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup||Man United 3 Barcelona 0||Robson (23, 51) Stapleton (53)|
|Mar. 7, 1984||UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup||Barcelona 2 Man United 0||Hogg O.G. (33), Rojo (89)|
Last Barcelona vs Man United match
Four years after Barcelona knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League, the Red Devils got revenge against the Catalans in the Europa League playoff round in 2022/23.
The first leg was an enthralling 2-2 draw at Camp Nou, United scoring twice in quick succession through Marcus Rashford and a Jules Kounde own goal after Marcos Alonso’s opener. Raphinha struck an equaliser to keep the tie in the balance.
At Old Trafford in the second leg, Robert Lewandowski put Barca 1-0 at halftime with a penalty, but United recovered again, Fred and Antony making it 2-1 on the night and sending United though 4-3 on aggregate.