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The Trans-Atlantic Sports Romantic! - by TheMach

Simply, the BEST team EVER...

May 29th 2011 15:14

The UEFA Champions League Final
May 28th 2011, Wembley Stadium - London, England
Manchester United 1 - 3 FC Barcelona

The home of football was a location befitting of the occasion. The greatest football club competition in the world reached it's climax yesterday evening at Wembley Stadium, England.

The European Champions League Final, in the English National stadium, in front of 80,000 spectators and with the world watching was the perfect combination for a Saturday night meal... the additional extra flavouring just so happened to be arguably the greatest sporting team ever assembled.

I understand that this is the boldest of statements to make. Thinking of great sides who were utterly dominant in their profession to the point that they became 'untouchable;'
The 1972/73 Miami Dolphins who went an entire season undefeated en route to winning the Super Bowl
The New York Yankees who currently hold a dominant 27 World Series chamionships in the baseball world.
The Australian Cricket team that ripped through world cricket in the 1990's and 2000's winning three World Cups in a row
The Wayne Gretzky inspired Edmonton Oilers that won four Stanley Cups during his reign with the team between 1979 and 1988
The British mens rowing team and Sir Steve Redgrave that won 5 Olympic Gold medals in a row between 1984 and 2000

And even the 03/04 'Invincible' Arsenal side that won the English Premier League having gone undefeated throughout an entire 38 game season.

I would even dare to declare, that the current Barcelona side, who have completed a Spanish League and Champions League double this season have done so with such swagger and brilliance that they are better in the execution of their trade than Muhammad Ali ever was at his boxing peak.

I cannot possibly find any other description and superlatives to forlay my opinion on how Barcelona have gone about their business this campaign, than to belittle these other MAJOR sporting achievements. Such has been the class; the elegance, the fluidity, the style, the substance and the production of this untouchable footballing masterclass.

The Spanish champion's approach was both methodical and articulate. The way in which they dismantled Manchester United, one of the best footballing sides in the world lead by the most succesful manager of all time, was sheer poetry in motion.
For Barcelona to slay their closest competition and most genuine rivals in the manner in which they did, in their own country, is a feit which is incomparable to any I have seen before.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the most cunning, the most futile of managers. A true footballing tactical genius, who has overcome the odds time and time again for the best part of 25 years. Even he could not pool together all of his experience and nouse and mastermind the downfall of the mighty Catalans.

United's gameplan proved effective for 20 minutes or so. They hassled and hurried Barca, closed them down quickly and gave them little time to set their craft in motion. But it was just like picking a lock in the end. Barcelona are so versatile that they adapt to any situation, like a Lion patiently stalking it's prey, they let United have their way early on - all the while the cogs were whirring, taking note and working out the best way to counteract United's setup.

The mind wonders if Pep Guardiola ever pre-plans for a match. United woud have spent countless hours watching footage of Barcelona, trying to figure out a game plan and an effective way to stop them doing what they do so fruitfully. This is seemingly impossible. Barcelona are a footballing machine, they have an answer to every question.
This is evident in their methods in last nights game. They let Manchester United execute their plan in the early stages of the game. Whilst Barcelona studied it and constructed their own game plan on the field as the game flowed, lulling United into a false sense of security and then began to disect them piece by piece - unstoppable, untouchable.

Finals in any sport across the globe have the sterotype of being more often than not dull affairs. Contested between two teams who cannot be seperated, the game is played out in a tight and tense fashion and usually settled by a scrappy goal or set piece as two teams of equals strive to cancel each other out.
Yesterday evening kicked tradition right where it hurts. Three stunning goals, each involving countless passes, untrackable movement and the crispest of finishing highlighted the frightening gulf that lies between world Football's number 1 and 2.

Victor Valdes, Dani Alves, Eric Abidal, Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa take a bow!

FC Barcelona looked distinctly ordinary for the best part of 25 minutes... and then they got the ball. Like a first-time mother they caressed it like a new born child, then like a miserable neighbour they never gave it back.

The rest as they say is history. . . but this footballing dynasty will be the future for many years to come.


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