Champions League Final 2011 Barcelona v Manhester United
Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd, 28th May 2011, Wembley Stadium, England
Barcelona and Man Utd both won their domestic leagues in 2011. Barcelona had reached the final of the Champions League for the third time in six years and Man Utd had reached the final for the third time in four years. These were the best two teams in the world battling for the greatest prize in club football.
Barcelona the best team ever
Barcelona were viewed by most as the best team of all time. They were managed by former player, Pep Guardiola and he had instilled a philosophy of quick passing football onto his team.
The way they moved the ball with one and two touch passing meant most opponents struggled to gain possession of the ball for long enough to threaten the Barcelona goal.
The team also had a great work ethic and if Barcelona did lose possession, the players would press their opponents high up the pitch until they forced a mistake to win the ball back.
World Cup winners Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta were the technicians in the middle of the park and they had the current World Player of the Year Lionel Messi up front.
Man Utd out for revenge
Man Utd were managed by veteran boss Sir Alex Ferguson. They had already won the Champions League twice under the Scot in 1999 and 2008.
They had a personal score to settle with Barcelona after being beaten in the final two years earlier. The game had been completely one sided and Barcelona ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.
The gulf in class that night had upset Ferguson so much he had refused to discuss the game with the press ever since, presumably embarrassed at being beaten so badly by the Catalans.
The United team was full of superb players with Wayne Rooney and Mexican whiz kid Javier Hernandez up front.
Experienced players Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Ryan Giggs set the pace at which the team played and the younger players took their lead from them.
Football’s coming home
The venue for the match was the new Wembley stadium in London. It was the first time the stadium had hosted the Champions League Final since being been rebuilt and opened in 2007.
Both teams would have been happy with the setting. Man United were familiar with the stadium after several visits in the FA Cup in the past few seasons and their English players played international matches there.
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