Barcelona: Champions of EuropeBy: Rob | May 27th, 2009
Barcelona have won the 2009 Champions League in spectacular fashion after a 2-0 win against Manchester United. Pep Guardiola’s side become the first Spanish side to do the domestic treble, and in his first season the rookie manager has already won all there is before him.
It could have been different. United started the more brightly, and a fired up Ronaldo had several sights of goal before the fabled Barcelona midfield could find their feet. But after ten minutes, against the run of play, Samuel Eto’o turned Nemandja Vidic inside out and rifiled a shot past Edwin van der Saar, and Barcelona began to play the football that we’ve seen all season.
Man United had good spells, but Barca had the better chances, a free-kick from man-of-the-match (and season?) Xavi hitting the foot of the post, Henry dancing his way through only to be denied by Van der Saar being the best picks.
United threw on substitute after substitute, but even with four strikers on the pitch they couldn’t score. Incredibly, it was Lionel Messi, with his head, that settled in the match in favour of the Catalan club. An incredible pass from Xavi which cut out three United defenders found Messi unmarked at the back post and the man they used to call “The flea” on account of his lack of height rose and looped his header perfectly over Van der Saar.
There can be little doubt that on the night the best team won, and that over the course of the season it was a genuine victory for nice football. Barcelona’s front three of Messi, Eto’o and Henry scored 99 goals between them this season, and the team as a whole scored 158 in all competitions. They’ve been in a giddy stratospheres, on a different playing field to everybody else.
Congratulations too must be handed out to Pep Guardiola who has single handedly made a mockery of any manager claiming one season isn’t enough. Someone he’s turned a tired-looking Barca team from last year into the best team on earth. In one season. Staggering.
Congratulations to Barcelona. You deserve it.