Sunday 29 May 2011

Champions League Final: Barcelona 3 Manchester Utd 1

What a privilege it was watching last night's Champions League Final.

Barcelona produced one of the best performances I've ever seen from a side in a Champions League Final.

Earlier this season I watched Barcelona humiliate Real Madrid 5-0 at the Nou Camp. I thought that performance was possibly the best I'd seen from a club side in my lifetime.

Last night they were equally as good, and you could say it was a better performance due to the occasion and what was at stake.

The worst thing for Man Utd was that the 3-1 scoreline flattered them. They were made to look ordinary and if Barca had scored 4 or 5 you couldn't say it wasn't deserved.

So the big question everyone is asking is this: Are Barcelona the greatest club side ever?

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El Clasico: Barcelona 5 Real Madrid 0

I've been watching football since the mid 1980s, you'd expect to see some great teams in that period.

The one team that's always stood out for me above others was the great Milan side of the late 1980s early 90s. The team of Gullit, Van Basten, Rikjaard, Baresi, and Maldini.

If you ever get the chance you should check out the highlights of the 1994 Champions League Final where they destroyed a very good Barcelona side 4-0. Last night's game reminded of that.

That Milan team are the only side I can think of that comes close to this Barcelona team. However, I do think this Barca team has the chance of dominating European football for years to come - in a way that no team has been able to do for a generation.

Older football fans talk about the great Dutch side of the 70s, the Brazil team of 1970, the Real Madrid side from the last 1950s. I know all about those teams, but it's so hard to start comparing teams and players from different eras.

What I do know is that this Barcelona side is one of the greats. It's not just the way they keep and dominate possession, but it's the speed in which they do it.

All the players have huge confidence and trust in their ability and that of their team mates. They never change their philosophy and when they don't have the ball they work incredibly hard to press the opposition and win the ball back, a sign of a great work ethic.

The team is made up of players that are mainly home grown something which is unique, they have spent big money but they've produced their own stars.

Finally, they have the world's greatest player in Lionel Messi. He really is a phenomenon. The greatest ever? That's a discussion in itself. He's the best player I've seen since Maradona.

A commonly known fact is that in the Champions League era no team has ever won back to back titles. I'm pretty confident that this time next year I'll be writing about Barcelona being the first team to do so.

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