There are few things in football that promise immortality. A permanent place in footballing lore awaits those who manage to achieve it. One of these things is a team winning the “Treble”. But, what is a treble in football? What are the types of treble and which one is considered to be the most prestigious?
We answer it all here-
What is a treble in football?
In simple mathematical terms, a “Treble” means three. Any team which wins three trophies in a season can be considered to have won a treble. These three trophies can be all domestic, domestic plus major continental honours, or minor domestic and continental honours.
However, in a question of prestige, they have a clear hierarchy. Trebles can broadly be divided into two types-
A domestic treble is when a team sweeps up the trophies in their country. For example, in England, if a team wins the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the Carabao Cup, they will be considered winners of a domestic treble.
There are also other competitions. If a team wins Community Shield, FA Cup, and Carabao Cup, they technically won three trophies. However, this “treble” is not considered a historic feat since for it to be considered one, at least one major trophy has to be there. In banter terms, some rivals fans also give such feats names like “Tinpot Treble”, stressing the lack of prestige of such a feat.
Domestic Treble is the lesser of the two types of trebles. It can be seen from the fact that in the history of football, 89 clubs have achieved the domestic treble, with 27 teams doing it multiple times. In contrast, the second type of treble has been achieved just nine times, by seven teams in total.
This brings us to the most prestigious type of treble-
This is a one-way ticket to footballing immortality. A continental treble is the highest honour in men’s football and the teams that achieve this etch their name in history.
As said earlier, only seven teams in the history of football have achieved this. Teams that have won the treble are a who’s who of footballing royalty.
A continental treble is achieved when the team wins their domestic league, their major domestic cup, (For example, in England, the FA Cup is the major cup, with the Carabao Cup being secondary in prestige), and the holy grail of all, the Champions League.
A team that wins the continental treble marks their legacy as the undisputed best team in Europe that season. Bayern Munich and Barcelona are the only clubs to have achieved this feat twice, while Manchester United are the only English Treble winners, in 1999. However, their city rivals might change that soon.
Can Manchester City win the treble?
The Cityzens have never been better placed to win the treble. Into the final of the Champions League against huge underdogs Inter Milan, leading the Premier League by four points with a game in hand, and into the final of the FA Cup, City are favourites for all three competitions.
The Premier League looks sealed and delivered and barring any huge upsets in the two finals, Manchester City will finally etch their name in history. Head Coach Pep Guardiola will become the first manager in football history to win two trebles, with his all-conquering Barcelona side of 2008/09 achieving the then-first Spanish treble.
In a storyline for the ages, Manchester United will have a shot at preserving their own legacy by stopping City’s treble. The Manchester rivals meet each other in the FA Cup semifinal seven days before the Champions League final. History awaits, can Manchester City finally answer the call? It has never been closer.