Yesterday, two giants met in the city of Rome. The teams: FC Barcelona and Manchester United. The game: The Champions League final.
Barcelona was at the end of a nearly perfect win. They had won two out of the three competitions they were in this year, and only had the Champions League to go. Thirty-eight year old coach Pep Guardiola was having an incredibly successful first year as a manager for a club. He had formerly been the captain of Barcelona up until 2001, but this was the first major club he had ever coached. Although Barça had been having so much success, they had lost the two league games prior to this, and were looking off-form.
Manchester United, on the other hand, was looking to be the first team since 1989 to win the cup two years in a row. They had just won the English Premier League for the third year in a row and were hoping to solidify their English dominance with an international trophy.
Although both were solid teams, many magazines were billing this as something of a show down between Barcelona playmaker Leonel Messi and Manchester United winder Christiano Ronaldo.
The 21-year-old whiz kid Leo Messi has drawn some well deserved comparisons to fellow Argentine legend Diego Maradona. Both have a similar style of play, are from the same country, and have scored some very similar goals. Christiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, has edged out Messi twice to become FIFA’s world player of the year both this year and last.
The game started with a slew of opportunities from both sides. A very near shot from Christiano Ronaldo was deflected by Barcelona goal keeper Victor Valdez, and two minutes later Samuel Eto’o had put Barcelona ahead, 1-0.
The chances slowed down considerably for Manchester United after that, and several defensive errors led to many golden opportunities for Barcelona. However, the Spaniards had to wait for the 70th minute to score their second goal off the head of Leonel Messi himself.
By the end of the game, the look of disappointment on Manchester United fans was palpable even to the blind, and Barcelona carried home their third ever Champions League trophy.