That rivalry has seen tensions spill over, refereeing scandals, and some absolutely stonking goals.
As the two sides prepare to renew hostilities this week, here are five of the very best goals from Chelsea vs Barcelona.
This is one of the most famous goals of Ronaldinho‘s career. Anyone who’s seen it before will remember it like it was yesterday, but it’s worth retelling. Receiving the ball at the edge of the penalty area, Ronaldinho just stands, pausing for a split second to contemplate what he’s facing. Ricardo Carvalho in front of him, John Terry in close attention, and Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal, 20 yards away. Then he shimmies, without touching the ball, leaving Carvalho transfixed, and then just shovels the ball into the back of the net.
FRANK LAMPARD (2006)
Was it a shot or a cross? Lampard insisted that he knew exactly what he was doing, and several Chelsea players said afterwards that the Englishman routinely practiced attempts like this in goal. That he needed to clarify – and that some people still didn’t believe him – shows how incredible this goal was. From practically the byline, with his back to goal and an initial movement that took him further away from the goal, the Chelsea forward turned and shot in one fluid motion, sending a beautiful chip into the far corner.
MICHAEL ESSIEN (2009)
The infamous 2009 Champions League semi-final second leg is remembered for some controversial (scandalous, Chelsea fans would say) refereeing decisions, but it also featured two outstanding goals. First was this strike from Essien, which came in the 9th minute and looked to be sending Chelsea to a second straight Champions League final clash against Manchester United. Essien made it a habit of scoring stunning goals, but this was something special. A volley struck with his weaker left foot, while he was airborne, and sent crashing past Victor Valdes and in off the bar.
ANDRES INIESTA (2009)
Then, of course, came all the drama. Chelsea had five separate claims for penalties turned away by referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, four of which came before Iniesta broke Chelsea hearts – and added to the deep sense of injustice. In the 90th minute, with Barcelona trailing 1-0 and heading out at the semi-final stage for the second straight Champions League campaign, Lionel Messi passed to the Spaniard, who decided to just swing his right boot. It was a good decision, as the ball went flying into the top corner like a dagger into Chelsea’s hopes.
Another Champions League semi-final between these two sides, and Chelsea got their revenge. They had won the first leg at home 1-0 but Barcelona had levelled the tie early in the first half in the return leg. Then after Blues skipper John Terry was sent off for a reckless kick, the home side seemingly put the tie out of Chelsea’s reach by scoring again to go 2-0 up on the night and 2-1 up on aggregate. But the English side responded with a goal of sublime quality from Ramires, whose audacious chip gave Chelsea the advantage on away goals. Then, of course, came Fernando Torres’ famous moment.
Salah became the second fastest Liverpool player to reach 30 goals in a season with a balletic finish in just his 36th appearance for the club in Wednesday’s 5-0 Champions League rout of Porto.
And in the streets of the Portuguese city in midweek the travelling Liverpool fans struck up a new chant to the tune of 90s hit ‘Good Enough’ by Dodgy with the line: “If he scores another few, then I’ll be Muslim too!”
“This is the first time I’ve seen such an exuberant, overt, positive appreciation that includes religion,” Piara Powar, Executive Director of Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) told the Washington Post.
The African player of the year is a devout Muslim and often celebrates his goals by kneeling in prayer.
Unai Emery‘s men have blown away all before them domestically this term, but with world-record signing Neymar failing to fire and captain Thiago Silva left to sulk on the Santiago Bernabeu bench, Cristiano Ronaldo led struggling Real to a 3-1, first-leg win.
That leaves PSG needing an unlikely comeback to reach the quarter-finals, having fallen at the last-16 stage in dramatic fashion to Barcelona last season.
Failure to reach the final this season, even if a domestic treble of Ligue 1, French Cup and League Cup titles is won, could see Emery’s job in danger and the rumours of a Neymar exit intensify.
Neymar’s fellow Brazilian and Real left-back Marcelo said before the match that he thinks “Neymar will play for Real Madrid one day”.
But the Spanish press were not impressed with the 25-year-old as Ronaldo stole the show, with Marca writing on Thursday: “His match was not that of a Ballon d’Or (winner). The real Ballon d’Or was at the other end of the pitch, with the No. 7 on his back.”
The French capital-city side return to action on Saturday with what looks to be a straightforward league game against Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes, despite losing for the first time this season at the newly-promoted outfit in December.
Spaniard Emery has some tricky decisions to make ahead of the weekend and, more importantly, the second leg in two weeks’ time, after dropping Silva just hours before the Real match and replacing the Brazilian with 22-year-old Presnel Kimpembe.
“It was the choice of the coach,” said Silva’s usual centre-back partner Marquinhos.
“He had all the players available and, (Silva) is our captain, a very important player who kept a positive attitude in the dressing room.”
Silva’s wife wasn’t so positive, though, criticising Emery on social media saying: “Tactics, tactics, what tactics?”
The fact that PSG are coming under so much fire for losing what was a tight contest at the defending European and Spanish champions shows how high expectations have risen, and Strasbourg can expect to face a backlash on Saturday, whoever Emery selects.
Stevan Jovetic stepped up with two goals in the absence of the injured Radamel Falcao in the 4-0 thrashing of Angers, while Keita Balde has also started to hit form.
When Lyon stunned PSG to move to within eight points of the leaders last month an unlikely title challenge looked possible, but three straight defeats have left them four points adrift of Marseille in the third and final Champions League spot.
Bruno Genesio’s men visit relegation-threatened Lille on Sunday, while Marseille host Bordeaux.
Player to watch – Mario Balotelli
The enigmatic Italian striker was booked last week for complaining about racist abuse at Dijon, with the French league since opening an investigation into the incident. Nice will be looking to Balotelli on Sunday to help them end a three-match losing streak against Nantes, in a crucial match in the fight for a Europa League spot behind the top four. Balotelli has scored 19 goals in 26 matches this season, while being booked 11 times and sent off once.