Muchas Gracias Barca!!!
Former Barcelona player and now Coach, Pep Guardiola has joined the ranks of soccer legends, after his win yesterday over powerhouse Manchester United. The 38-year old Guardiola has swept the Spanish and Cup Championships, being the youngest coach to accomplish this achievement. Speaking as a diehard ManU fan, I tip my hat to Pep, as his players never missed a step. Guardiola who started a ball boy at Camp Nou has come a long way baby. Guardiola became the youngest coach to win European soccer’s top club competition since the European Cup became the Champions League in 1993. Barcelona also won the trophy in 1992 and 2006.
“No team has ever done the treble in Spain, and we’ll be remembered as the first team to do it,” Barcelona striker Thierry Henry said. “That’s amazing.”
Manchester United was chasing its fourth European Cup title and fourth trophy this season after winning the Premier League, FIFA Club World Cup and League Cup.
Samuel Eto’o put the Spanish champions ahead in the 10th minute and Messi’s 70th-minute goal – his ninth in the Champions League this season – sealed the victory over the defending champions at the Stadio Olimpico.
ManU was thoroughly outplayed by the Spanish side as Messi scored his 38th goal of an amazing year for Barcelona, which has 53 league and cup goals this season. Xavi floated a diagonal ball into the United area to find Messi unmarked, and the 5-fooot-7 (1.69 m) Argentina striker – renowned for his deft dribbling and shooting – used his head to loop the ball over United goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar and into the net.
Messi set off colorful celebrations at one end of the stadium, filled with 62,467 fans, and left English fans in silence. The loss left Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson at 25 titles in 23 seasons. He failed to match Liverpool’s Bob Paisley’s three titles in the competition. “We started the game brightly. We were confident and we could have been in front,” Ferguson said. “We had the ball but didn’t use it very well. … We defended fantastically all season but they were two shoddy goals. South Korean winger Park Ji-sung became the first Asian to play in a Champions League final. He almost scored for United in the opening minute but his shot was deflected wide after Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kick had been blocked by the goalkeeper. It was the nearest United came to scoring all night.
The victory also marked the first Champions League title for Henry, the French striker who was on the losing side when Arsenal lost to Barcelona in 2006. “Finally, I’ve been waiting for so long to get this title and now finally today,” said Henry, who had been doubtful for the final because of a knee injury. “The last five minutes were the longest of my life.”
Sports analysts and other talking heads will be waging the battle in weeks to come as to whether Lionel Messi is the top player in the world or was it just a bad playing day for Cristiano Ronaldo. As a ManU fan who bleeds Manu pride I was a tot. There is always next year – thanks for the memories guys.