Beautiful Barça strip the fallen of their crown

May 28, 2009

“To call Barcelona the champions of Europe this morning is to give them their lesser title. The one they demand, unquestionably, is champions of football. Champions of the game that can, even in this high-pressure age of super athleticism and grinding work assignments, still be exquisite. The margin of victory was two goals but the gap between the ambitions, and the execution, of the two teams touched on infinity.” James Lawton: (The Independent)

Barcelona – Manchester United: A Live Blog of the Champions League Final (The Run Play)
“Manchester United and Barcelona are in Rome, their supporters are having Champions League Final toga parties in the street outside their hotels, and the waters of the Fontana del Nettuno are running purple with the leaky ink of self-applied Wayne Rooney neck tattoos.”

Thierry Henry salutes Barcelona’s ‘incredible’ Champions League victory (Guardian)
“Thierry Henry has credited his manager, Pep Guardiola, for his decision to remain with Barcelona in a season in which the Catalan side has won an historic treble. The former Arsenal striker endured a difficult beginning to his Camp Nou career, but last night collected a Champions League medal to go with the league and cup titles already won by Barcelona this year.”

Football Weekly Extra: Treble joy for incredible Barcelona (Guardian)
“James Richardson, Barry Glendenning, Sean Ingle and Rob Smyth are the men that matter in this Champions League final pod special. They will be answering such questions as: just how good are Barcelona? Could United have approached the game differently? And why did the British media – including the sagacious Tim Lovejoy – get it so wrong about the Spanish champions?”

Ian Herbert: Guardiola’s brilliant creation is enough to make the heart weep (The Independent)
“Pep Guardiola’s words had sounded a little too ornate to be football language when he took a seat up on a stage in this stadium on Tuesday evening and spoke of how he wanted his side to be ‘beautiful’ and to feel they were playing in front of the whole world.”

Pete Jenson: Eto’o thrives after move to right (The Independent)
“”We don’t always agree on things,” said Samuel Eto’o about his relationship with coach Pep Guardiola this week. “Sometimes we do what I say, sometimes we do what he says but usually it’s true that when we do what he says he turns out to be right.”

Manchester United v Barcelona: 10 reasons why Sir Alex Ferguson’s side lost in Rome (Telegraph)
“1. Darren Fletcher was suspended. The Scot received a red card in the 3-1 semi-final second leg at Arsenal and attempts to have the ban rescinded failed….”

Picture Galleries (Telegraph)
“Kings of Europe: Carlos Puyol, the Barcelona captain, holds aloft the European Cup after his side beat Manchester United 2-0 in the Olympic Stadium, Rome, as the Catalan side completed an historic treble.”

Barcelona triumph in Rome (World Soccer)
“United were beaten 2-0 courtesy of goals from Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi on a sweltering night in the Stadio Olimpico. United started the final brightly with Cristiano Ronaldo a constant threat but were stunned on 10 minutes when Samuel Eto’o, supplied by the outstanding Andres Initesa, skipped past Nemanja Vidic and poked the ball past Edwin van der Sar.”

Daily Dose: May 27th, 2009 (the Offside)
“Something to read while you watch Barcelona lift that big trophy…”

Barca rule Europe, and have done it their way (SoccerLens)
“For nine minutes, I was smug and self-satisfied, as well as disappointed. My pre-match predictions were being played out in front of my eyes; the men in all-white were on top, and the Catalans were struggling to adapt to the intensity of their play.”

Manchester United’s shocking inferiority exposed in Eternal City (Times Online)
“The final parp of the whistle put Manchester United out of their misery last night, and how often do we write that of the side led by the most insanely driven pensioner in sport — a man still biting off a journalist’s head for asking a perfectly fair question about his future plans?”

Wayne Rooney threat was wasted against Barcelona (Times Online)
“Manchester United deserved what they got. If you cannot expose that vulnerable Barcelona back four with all the attacking talent at United’s disposal in Rome, something is badly wrong.”

Barcelona – Manchester United (2-0) CL Final (Mighty Football)