The Champions League final was more hyped up than usual. Since it is the championship match between the best soccer clubs in Europe, it is always a big deal around the world. But since it put Barcelona against Manchester United, it fueled the fire even further on Saturday afternoon. Two of the most powerful and famous soccer teams in the world squared off in the final, and Barcelona was crowned champion again.
The 3-1 victory re-established the Spanish club as the best in Europe, and in a decisive fashion. In fact, it began talk on whether this team is the best ever since this was its third championship in six years and its second in three seasons. It might have even been playing for a three-peat, if the Icelandic ash cloud didn’t alter Barcelona’s travel plans before its loss in the 2010 semifinals.
But the 2011 tournament wasn’t altered by an ash cloud, and so there were no excuses for losing this time. Yet Barcelona didn’t need any excuses, as it overpowered Manchester United in the second half.
Still, United hung around for the first half and recovered quickly after Pedro Rodriguez’s opening goal in the 27th minute. Wayne Rooney delivered the equalizer in the 34th minute, leaving the score even at 1-1 at the half. But Barcelona would re-establish control before long, with Lionel Messi as the predictable hero.
Once Messi struck with a goal in the 54th minute, the outcome became inevitable. Manchester United had little left by the end, as David Villa all but finished things off with a 69th minute goal. From then on, it was a matter of running off the last 20-plus minutes, before yet another Barcelona celebration.
The final told a familiar story for United, as it lost by two goals to Barcelona for the second time in three years, following a 2-0 defeat in 2009. But Spanish clubs have dominated the Champions League lately, as Barcelona’s three titles in six years follow Real Madrid’s three championships from 1998 to 2002.
All of soccer is revolving around Spain lately, at least in Europe, as Saturday’s triumph matches up with the 2010 World Cup victory by the Spanish national team. Manchester United remains one of the most popular and well-known clubs in the world, yet it still has a long way to go to be champions again, as does every other team outside of Spain.
The rest of Europe will try to regroup before the 2012 Champions League tournament begins, in hopes Barcelona will grow too cocky and confident to repeat.
Yahoo Sports- “Messi’s Barcelona beats Man United 3-1 in final”
SI.com- “Barcelona outclasses Man United with a performance for the ages”
Napit.co.uk- “The Champions League”