LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28: Eric Abidal of FC Barcelona lifts the trophy after victory in the UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Whew, usually I try my best to be as objective as I can but for once I will just let my emotions take over. FC Barcelona won the Champions League, again! For the third time in 5 years, FC Barcelona have won Europe’s biggest prize. To put it in perspective, just 19 years ago FC Barcelona claimed their maiden trophy, in Wembley! The 2010/2011 football season has come to an end, at least in Europe. But the campaign ended with a big bang, a football match worthy of a final.
I don’t know why but the opening 10-15 minutes reminded me of the 2009 Final. Manchester United were more aggressive, more agile, quite simply, more dangerous. But just as it was the case in Rome, a FC Barcelona player scored a fabulous goal in co-creation with one half of the Xavi/Iniesta tandem. This time, Xavi played co-conspirator to Pedro’s opening goal. However, Wayne Rooney apparently didn’t get the memo. The former Everton man decided to spoil the party and score the equalizer. Nevertheless according to Lionel Messi it was 2009, as La Pulga scored the second goal for the Blaugrana, just like he did in Rome two years earlier.
The rest of the game can only be described as one-way football. Manchester United forfeited the midfield and let FC Barcelona play their slick short-passing game to devastating effect.
I should write a proper review but I don’t want to be caught up in technicalities. If you wanted to read a technical review, you wouldn’t read this. Of course, I am obligated to write an unbiased article but FC Barcelona, my favorite team, just won the Champions League, again. What do you expect me to write? I’m human, I get carried away. Perhaps I’m slightly exaggerating but this is the best match I’ve watched in a very long time.
Over the last couple of months I have made it my mission to question Pep Guardiola’s insistence on playing David Villa as a left-winger. I have to take it all back and accept Pep’s genius. David Villa has probably scored the most important goal of his career tonight. The 3-1 put the nerves of Culés all over the world at ease and buried any comeback hopes Manchester United might’ve had. After all, this is 2011 and not 1999. There was no coming back from this comprehensive beating, not tonight. Unlike Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona weren’t going to allow Manchester United to fight their way back into the tie, no way.
Champions League Final 2011 | Manchester United Vs FC Barcelona 3-1
Wembley was and will forever be a special ground for FC Barcelona. In 1992, FC Barcelona won their first Champions League trophy, the first in their storied and distinguished history. In other words, FC Barcelona, the club, the organization, the players and most importantly, the fans got a huge chip off of their shoulders. It’s the same drive, ambition and starvation that causes Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich to spend obscene amounts of money to achieve this target. Okay, Mr. Abramovich is not a starving man by any stretch of the imagination, but he is craving the Champions League title like no other.
FC Barcelona and its fans already got that monkey off of their back. Now we (the spectators) are just enjoying the rewards of a prospering youth system, some sort of stability in the FC Barcelona hierarchy and a never before witnessed squad harmony. No more off-field drama, aside from Eric Abidal’s battle with cancer. No FC Barcelona player is making headlines for all the wrong reasons, maybe Gerard Pique. But then again, he is dating Columbian superstar Shakira, you can’t expect him to maintain a low-profile.
But what really stood out for me, apart from the unworldly performance by FC Barcelona, Eric Abidal lifting the UEFA Champions League trophy, as club captain no less. Personally, I expected to see Xavi or Carles Puyol lifting the much desired trophy, but no other player deserved it more than King Eric Abidal. The Frenchman did the unthinkable; he successfully won his battle against cancer and worked his way back into the starting XI for the UEFA Champions League Final. He did it less than three months after first being diagnosed with the lethal disease.
PUYOL lets ABIDAL lift the cup ( FC Barcelona vs Manchester United ) UCL Final Wembley London!
If I had to reduce the Champions League Final to a single moment, Eric Abidal lifting the trophy as club captain, that would be it. It’s one of the reasons why FC Barcelona can genuinely claim to be "Mes Que Un Club" (more than a club). Even with all the superstars in their ranks, FC Barcelona are refreshingly free of oversized egos. Thanks to the football gods, Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn’t with FC Barcelona anymore. Is it a mere coincidence why both, Inter Milan and FC Barcelona, have won the Champions League after he left their respective sides?
No, Adriano Galliani you and AC Milan can keep Ibracadabra. Don’t get no funny ideas and don't ship him back to Catalunya. If it was up to me, I’d even let you have him for free. Just forget that I have ever accused you of hustling FC Barcelona.
I am sure the philosopher as Zlatan Ibrahimovic likens Pep Guardiola will not lose sleep over the volatile Swede. Champions League count: Zlatan Ibrahimovic 0 – Pep Guardiola 3
To all Culés all over the world, let’s celebrate the fourth Champions League like it’s 1999!
Once again, FC Barcelona have outplayed and dominated Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final.
Once again, FC Barcelona have defeated Manchester United with a two goal margin.
Once again, the team that has got rid of Zlatan Ibrahimovic won the UEFA Champions League.
Once again, Lionel Messi has become the UEFA Champions League top scorer.
Once again, La Pulga has scored in a UEFA Champions League final.
And once again, FC Barcelona are crowned the best team in Europe.
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