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May 17, 2022

Incredible Barcelona takes fourth European crown

Forward Lionel Messi hailed an “incredible” performance by FC Barcelona after Josep Guardiola’s men lit up Wembley en route to claiming their fourth European crown with 3-1 victory over Manchester United FC, according to uefa.com.
For Barcelona it was their third UEFA Champions League in six seasons and it came, fittingly, at the venue where they first scaled continental football’s greatest peak in 1992. Messi produced a man-of-the-match display and, as he had done in Rome two years ago, scored his team’s decisive second goal nine minutes after the break, restoring the Azulgrana’s lead with a long-range strike after Wayne Rooney had cancelled out Pedro Rodriguez’s opener.

David Villa added a brilliant third to stamp Barcelona’s superiority on a match where they had 12 attempts on target to their rivals’ one, and confirm a repeat of their 2009 success against the English champions.  Messi said, quoted by uefa.com: “We’re very happy to lift another trophy. It was a difficult season but we showed who we are. We were the better team. To be the man of the match is the least important thing, because it was incredible how we played. We were very good in all areas.”

A touching postscript to Barcelona’s triumph was the sight of Eric Abidal lifting the trophy, the French international, who underwent surgery to remove a liver tumour in March, having been a surprise starter at left-back because of Carles Puyol’s fitness problems. Daniel Alves, who like Abidal had missed out on the 2009 final, said his team-mate’s involvement was extra cause for celebration.

On the other side, left-back Patrice Evra recognised that Manchester United FC had been beaten by no ordinary team while keeper Edwin van der Sar reflected on an unhappy farewell appearance. About Messi’s goal, who beat Van der Sar with a shot from outside the box after the failure of the United defence to close him down, the goalkeeper said. “I thought I was positioned well as I thought Vidic was blocking that side,” said Van der Sar, playing his last match before retiring. “One game too many” was the verdict of the 40-year-old on his unhappy farewell, though without some of his saves the scale of defeat could have been even heavier.

Guardiola delighted by manner of victory

What pleased Josep Guardiola most was the stylish display FC Barcelona gave in beating Manchester United FC, whose manager Sir Alex Ferguson was magnanimous in defeat. Josep Guardiola described himself as a “privileged” coach: “I feel privileged to have these players. We’ve asked them to work hard and I’d like to congratulate everyone who’s worked towards this. This is how I want to play football. (…) About the future: “I’ll continue for one more year and then we’ll see. My life is decided by passion and when that’s gone I’ll go home and rest a little bit – and try to get that passion back. My future will be very tough – at another club, to find these type of players … but maybe that will be a challenge for me to go to another club and find these kind of players. To be at a huge club like United for 25 years, create new teams and new teams – my admiration is unbelievable”.

Sir Alex Ferguson: “in my time as manager, this is best team we’ve faced”

“We knew we were up against a good team and we planned as best we could. They do mesmerise you with the passing and we never really controlled Messi. When we got the lifeline from Wayne Rooney I expected us to do better in the second half but it wasn’t to be. We tried to play as near to the way we normally play, it’s alien for us to man-mark players. It wasn’t good enough on the night, we acknowledge that, but we can step forward from here. (…)  In my time as manager, this is best team we’ve faced – I think everyone acknowledges that and I accept that. It’s not easy when you’ve been beaten like that but no one’s given us a hiding like that. It’s a great moment for them and they deserve it because they play the right way.”

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