A team that has scored 98 goals in this season. A team so full of players who play not just for the amazing amount of money they get but also for the love of the kind of sport it represents. A team that represents everything SPANISH in the world of football beat the best machinery in England. They won fair and square the men from Nou Camp, far away from their colosseum.
The spirits of the 2 teams were very different from the very start, while Guardiola in his classic style walked with a certain glint of passion in his eyes, Sir Alex Ferguson looked wearied and worried. Ferguson, of course, spoke highly of his men, having been champions of the English Premier League and in their defence, they played the most “English” game there can be, trying to put up a solid defence with occasional bouts of what I fondly call “Rooneyisms” 🙂
More than the clash of the two teams, however, it represented clash of two schools of Football. Manchester United with its classical mechanisms and Barcelona with its rhythmic pleasure. It took exactly ten minutes into the game for Barca to find some semblance of rhythm and it is safe to say that Manchester United didn’t really capitalize on their slightly off cue defence (with my favorite Carlos Puyol being left out for his old and weary feet 😦 ) The key here was to not allow them to find their rhythm and ManU failed to do that. But what really changed the game, as it does in most cases, was the lack of belief and faith in their own game.
Speaking of faith takes me to the verbal rant that went on between Morinho and Gaurdiola on the days leading up to the el classico. Gaurdiola was quoted as saying, “We shall just go out and do what we do best and that is playing football.”
That in one sentence sums up what Barcelona is best at doing. Why else would the best English team in the world fall short not once but twice in the European stage against a team that believed in itself and believed in the game they play so passionately.
The “Messi factor” can’t really be ignored here. The “little master” (of football) has often been criticised for not having played for his country in the world stage as well as he plays for Barca, there again lies the significant difference. At Barca, if 4 people are surrounding him, they have a Villa or a Xavi and Iniesta to support them, in the Argentine team, however, Messi is being hailed as a one and only. Messi isn’t Maradona, he means so much more to football and I hope his country realizes that.
For now, ManU should go back with their heads held high, they were beaten by a better school of thought and greater belief but they fought valiantly and true to the spirits of the game (only 3 yellow cards in the whole match that too only one to ManU!)
Nou Camp would be celebrating like it always has, Spanish football has finally come of age. It has beaten the world, taken over Europe and has helped Barca lift the la liga and the Champions League
Barca el campiones! 🙂