It was the Champions League final tonight. If you didn’t know that you’ve clearly been living under a rock for the past year. It was a re-match of the 2009 Champions League final: We were up against the might of Barcelona and we were hungry for revenge. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have learned anything since that night two years ago and Barcelona beat us comfortably. There’s probably plenty I could discuss – did Sir Alex pick the right team? Did he pick the right bench? But, frankly, that’s all irrelevant because life does not have a rewind button. It’s also irrelevant because Barcelona would have beaten us no matter who we had played.
We started well enough, closing Barcelona down, not allowing them time on the ball but you just can’t keep that up for 90 minutes and after about 15 minutes Barcelona took complete control of the game and rarely relinquished that control. They went ahead from Pedro, and it looked like game over then. I was gutted, I was seeing us losing 50-0, but then Rooney pulled us back level with a sublime goal. It seemed to knock Barcelona slightly, but only slightly. We went into the break 1-1.
We came back out after half-time and Barcelona just kept the pace going. It was relentless, we could barely get the ball. And soon the pressure told when Messi scored a 25 yard goal. For a while there was still just that goal in it, but we never looked like scoring and it was no surprise when David Villa gave Barcelona a 3-1 lead. Apart from that first 15 minutes, we never looked in the game. Barcelona just play so effortlessly that they’re essentially unbeatable. And they deservedly held onto the win. Nobody could have begrudged them it, because it was like a training session and they ran rings around us.
It wasn’t even that we played particularly badly, we just couldn’t get hold of the ball. I have no idea if there would have been a different outcome if we started with a 4-5-1 rather than the 4-4-2 we went with, but I’d hazard a guess not. Like it or not, Barcelona are the best team in the World. Not even just this season, for many seasons now. They’re almost untouchable in La Liga, and it’s as if they’ve suddenly hit their peak during the 10/11 season. It’s quite frightening, actually, because Barcelona aren’t necessary an ‘old’ team. They have players that are in their thirties, but with the way Barcelona rotate, they’re able to ease in youngsters so that when the time comes it’ll be almost effortless. They could possibly add Cesc Fabregas during the Summer and it’s hard to see how you could beat this Barcelona team. They’re just something else entirely and they have the added bonus of having the World’s best player in their team in Lionel Messi who will undoubtedly win every single Players award for this season. There is nobody as good as Messi.
As much as I’m disappointed (and I am), even I can accept that Barcelona are to be admired. There is absolutely no shame in losing to a team like Barcelona. I watched them lift the trophy and it did make me smile, because they deserve everything they’ve won this season. They are a team to behold and to stop and stare at. I can be a sore loser, but I can also admit when a team plays us off the pitch and Barcelona did that. I’ll probably watch their matches in La Liga next season, because you want to watch pretty football and Barcelona play that. So as disappointing and soul destroying as it is, I’m well able to applaud Barcelona. Anybody who says Barcelona didn’t deserve to win simply didn’t watch that match.
That means we’re now done for the season. There are rumours abound that Berbatov did a runner after learning he wasn’t in the team at all for tonight’s match and, if true, means he’ll be sold this summer. Fergie doesn’t like players who act like that. It’s a shame Berba’s season has come to this because he’s had a fantastic season. It just so happens that Chicharito has also had a stunning season and seems to link up better with Rooney. I’d be sad to see Berbatov go, but I could understand him leaving to be honest. I think we’ll need to buy us some midfielders this season, especially if Scholes does indeed hang up his boots. To all intents and purposes we’ve had a good season, and I hope we can strengthen where needed for next season and I sincerely hope our new goalie (apparently De Gea but it’s not official yet) can hit the ground running. I can’t wait for next season, it has got to be said.