Sunday, May 29, 2011
The Star: At Wembley Stadium, Barcelona and Lionel Messi put their places among football's all-time greats beyond all doubt Saturday as the Argentina striker scored one goal and created another in a 3-1 Champions League final win over Manchester United.
27' [1 - 0] P. Rodriguez
34' [1 - 1] W. Rooney
54' [2 - 1] L. Messi
69' [3 - 1] D. Villa
Ferguson said, "They do mesmerize you with their passing and we never really did control Messi. But many people have said that."
"In my time as manager, it's the best team I've faced," he added. A third Champions League title in six seasons and fourth overall means that only Liverpool, AC Milan and fierce rival Real Madrid have won more European Cups than Barcelona's four.
On the Man United website, Sir Alex was quoted as saying, “I think it is the best team we have ever played. They are at a tremendous peak in the cycle of their team and you get teams who elevate themselves to that status and I think Barcelona are that team.
“We were well beaten. There is no other way to address the situation. We were beaten by the better team, a fantastic team of course, but I expected to do better. We expected to do better, it’s as simple as that.”
“It has been a great season in many ways," said Sir Alex. "We are just disappointed we’ve come to Wembley twice and been beaten, against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final and then to Barcelona in the final of the European Cup. But it has been a fantastic season - we are just disappointed it has ended on a disappointing note.”
Sir Alex feels his side also belong among the European elite after a strong run to a third final in four years.
"I think our record this season has been excellent. We have won some really important games, but tonight we were beaten by probably, in fact definitely, the best team in Europe. There is no shame in that. From time to time you do come up against a team that is better than you and tonight was that."
Nemanja Vidic of MU said, "“I think if you look at the past, we have never played against a team like we did tonight against Barcelona. We just have to give them credit. They played good football and they deserved to win.”
Commentators had said before the game that Barcelona, which had already won a third straight Spanish league title, would be ranked among football's truly great sides with victory over United.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has now won 10 titles - including two European Cups - in three years.
Barcelona: Victor Valdes, Dani Alves (Carles Puyol, 88), Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Eric Abidal, Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez (Ibrahim Afellay, 90), Lionel Messi, David Villa (Seydou Keita, 86).
Manchester United: Edwin van der Sar, Fabio da Silva (Nani, 69), Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick (Paul Scholes, 77), Ryan Giggs, Park Ji-sung, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez.
Champions League - Ferguson: United mesmerised by Messi
Champions League - Guardiola 'privileged' to coach invincibles