MARTIN SMITH: The greatest European team of all time?

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SO who’s fed up with Barcelona?

Sick of their mincing little passes, their ‘chosen ones’ attitude and the way they can’t shoot until they get inside the six yard box?

No? Thought not.

It’s a cliche already but sometimes you just have to state the bleedin’ obvious because to not do so would be to deny a historical truth.

There have been few truly great club sides since the start of the European Cup.

If you go for the absolute cream it’s Real Madrid of the 50s and 60s, Cruyff’s Ajax and Maldini’s Milan.

We have to add Barcelona to that list.

Arsenal are a real force in this country, a little inconsistent, but on their day capable of doing to other teams what Barcelona have done to them in the past year.

But they hardly had a kick near the opposition goal.

Not one shot on target in 90 minutes. Not one shot of any kind as far as anyone can remember.

For a team to be able to do that to Arsenal, they have to be truly special.

It’s always easy to over-estimate the quality of what’s happening now because it’s there to be admired. But has there been a better team in European football than this Barcelona side?

It has the undoubted star of the age in Lionel Messi, and it has great technique, power and speed. They have a collective belief in the way they play, the tika-taka pass and move style and a club philosophy created by Johan Cruyff, one he picked up from Ajax as a boy and refined into his own.

But they have one test, and arguably the toughest, to overcome. They have won three European Cups, two in the last four years. To be a truly great team they need two more European Cups with these players.

Lee Dixon, the fast-improving TV and radio pundit was on Radio Five talking about the size of the Barcelona pitch: “It’s just massive,” said the commentator.

“Huge pitch?” said Lee. “You’re not kidding. It’s like Hyde Park with lines on it.” It must have felt even bigger to the 10 Arsenal players by the end.