BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 13: Eric Abidal of FC Barcelona is lifted by his team-mates during the celebrations for winning the Spanish Liga at the Camp Nou Stadium on May 13, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
After a horrific run of injuries that saw Barcelona’s entire back line stretched perilously thin, Pep Guardiola is suddenly looking at a completely healthy squad for the first time in months. With a nice warmup match down south at Málaga, there’s time to get things just right for May 28th’s date with Manchester in Wembley.
Most importantly, Carles Puyol will be ready to roll against the reds, pairing with Piqué to form perhaps the world’s best center back combination. Miraculously, Eric Abidal has recovered from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor and looks fit as a fiddle. If he or Dani Alves should need a sub at right or left back, Adriano will be ready, having just received "la alta médica".
Up top, Bojan Krikic has exceeded all expectations in recovering from a muscular injury, and played a full strong game last week against Depor. The chances that he’ll see the field are slim to none, but if David Villa continues to struggle, and especially if the game goes into extra time, Pep will be glad to have little Bojan in his arsenal. And no, that was not a clever pun suggesting Bojan is headed to Arsenal next season. If you must know, I think he’s headed for Juventus. But that’s another story.
Sergio Busquets has been healthy all year, but his presence in the final was put in jeapordy when he called Madrid’s Marcelo a monkey. That was a very poor choice of words, and coupled with his ridiculous flopping, I’m much less a fan of Busquets than I used to be. But I still want him out there against Man U, and UEFA’s recent ruling dismisses all charges against Busquets, and he’ll start for Barcelona.
In short, we get to see "la once de gala" for the first time in awhile: Valdés, Dani Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Messi, Villa, Pedro.
My goodness that looks good, don’t it?