Barcelona’s artistry and invention was too good for Manchester United and the Catalan club will surely go down as one of the greats.
For ten minutes Manchester United came out on top but even that was because they played the Barca way. For the rest of the game, the Catalan club’s artistry, guile and invention was too much.
It’s definitely too early to say that English clubs’ dominance has come to the end, far from it but United’s perceived advantage of strength, energy and dynamism not once overawed Barcelona. And once Eto’o settled their nerves, Barcelona were at their hypnotic and mesmerising best. Xavi was the metronome of the side, constructing and orchestrating their best attacks while Iniesta made it seem like giving the ball away was a sin.
Poor Micheal Carrick looked to be the only one with that bit of class to inspire something but even he attempted too many Hollywood passes to gift possession back to Barcelona. At one time, the England midfielder had the three of Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta around him and not another United midfielder in sight.
Manchester United started the better, playing at a high tempo but Sir Alex seemed to preoccupied by Barcelona’s strengths. Ronaldo had the opponent defenders running scared and fired a couple of warning signs which went agonisingly wide. Their best chance came from his wickedly deviating free-kick which Valdes could only fumble and Pique made a last ditch block on Park. Rooney’s talents were surely wasted wide while Ronaldo’s were surely wasted in the centre; Ferguson deployed his front three high up akin to Barcelona to stop them passing the ball out but the early goal threw that tactic in the bin.
The other sub story, Messi versus Ronaldo was won by the little Argentinian. The ball was stuck to his feet all day long and he like Ronaldo played as the most high up forward, although Messi was given licence to roam.
Ironically, Chelsea came closest to stopping the inevitable from happening, Barca winning the trophy (Shakhtar did beat them but in a dead rubber game) with the best anti-football ever played. However not without trying, Barcelona’s possession game was too good for United and drove them close to insanity. Manchester United may be English Champions and Champions of the World but Barcelona are European Champions and also the people’s champion.