Archive for the ‘Barcelona’ Category

Barcelona 2 VS 0 Manchester United

May 27, 2009

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 BARCA COMPLETE HISTORIC TREBLE

FC Barcelona created history on Wednesday evening as they won the UEFA Champions League in Rome to add to the domestic title and Copa del Rey thanks to goals from Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi.

In a superb display of the type of football that has typified what has been a magnificent season, Barça became the first team from the Spanish league to complete the unique treble as they ended Manchester United’s run of 25 games unbeaten in the European competition.

Slow start

The predictions that the homegrown mix of players with star international names would find the Red Devils a difficult team looked to be correct in the opening minutes as Cristiano Ronaldo looked alert and lively, but Barça held tight and took control of proceedings. The Portuguese was said to be one of the men to watch and he forced Víctor Valdés to make a save early on that required Gerard Piqué to then meet the rebound and clear.

The opening goal

Guardiola’s team have won plaudits from around the world for their passing and possession game and the more Xavi and Andrés Iniesta came into the game the tougher it became for Ronaldo and United to employ the style of play that has seen them win the Premier League, Carling Cup and World Club Cup this season.

After the English side’s bright start, Barcelona showed them the way to goal with almost their first attack after ten minutes. Eto’o was picked out on the right of the area and he stepped inside Nemanja Vidic before taking aim with a shot that Edwin van der Sar met but was unable to keep out and the Cameroonian striker wheeled away to the corner flag to celebrate the opening goal.

Style and technique

That goal gave the Blaugrana the confidence that they required and they lifted their game as United began to have to chase and work in order to gain possession and try and find a way back into the game, but they were unable to as Guardiola’s players started to enjoy themselves.

Lionel Messi was the focus of much attention in the build-up and he sent a drive just over the bar from 25 yards out before Xavi lined up the first free-kick of the evening and saw his effort curl just over the near post as Van der Sar came across to cover.

Attacking changes

After half-time, Sir Alex Ferguson looked to bolster his front line with the introduction of Carlos Tévez in place of Anderson, but even that move did not allow United to prevent Barcelona from creating more chances to wrap up the encounter. Henry moved away from Rio Ferdinand in the 50th minute and sent saw his shot saved by the keeper before Xavi sent a low free-kick around the wall and saw it cannon back of the post soon after as the Catalan outfit continued to dominate.

Last season Gerard Piqué picked up a medal as an unused player for Manchester United and just a year later he became the first player to ever win the trophy with two different clubs in consecutive years. Not only did he create history, but the defender was also outstanding in the second period as he prevented his former club from finding a way back into the game. Even Dimitar Berbatov came on to give United even more going forward were they unable to regularly break Barça down.

Messi heads home

Valdés proved that he was still focussed as he raced to deny Ronaldo from close range, but the keeper did not have a busy evening as the midfield dominated and a second goal for Barcelona always looked likely and when it came it was a superb effort. Xavi looked up from a few yards outside on the right of the area and clipped a cross beyond the defence where Messi rose and stayed up to nod a textbook header beyond Van der Sar and into the far corner of the net with 70 minutes on the clock.

That was the signal for the celebrations to begin being planned as Roma joined Wembley and Paris in the Barça history books. An historic win on an historic night in an historic city was a fitting tribute for the team of the season to complete their memorable treble.

 

MESSI CROWNED KING of the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

MESSIIn a Champions League showdown billed as Lionel Messi against Cristiano Ronaldo to see who is the best player in the world it was the Portuguese international that began brightly, but the Argentinian that came out as a hero.

The Barcelona and Manchester United stars drew nearly all the attention during an intense build-up to the Champions League final in Rome as they have been cited as the best by FIFA and France Football magazine and neither disappointed, but just like in the Bernabéu against Real Madrid, Messi was able to move in field more, while Ronaldo also took up a central role as he did against Arsenal in the semi finals.

Imposing Ronaldo

In the opening minutes it was Ronaldo that shone as he saw a free-kick from 25 yards that saw Vítor Valdés parry the ball and have Gerard Piqué clear the rebound and again the United player took aim from 40 minutes soon after with a drive that was off target as he looked confident and ambitious. There was to be another effort in the eighth minute that flew past the far post too.

Eto’o opens the scoring

Manchester United’s early promise and attacking intent had the brakes firmly put on it after ten minutes though when Barcelona netted the first goal of the game with their opening attack as Samuel Eto’o beat Edwin van der Sar. Practically of the Red Devils’ attacks came through Ronaldo and in the end he was having to be stopped by any means properly as Gerard Piqué proved when being booked in the 16th minute.

Growing in confidence

Barça grew in confidence and improved throughout in the Olympic Stadium and within the team Messi also looked better and better as he linked up well with the ever-impressive Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández to keep United chasing the game and chasing the ball. The Argentinian had his first chance of the game in the 19th minute when he looked up from outside the area and sent a drive that flew just over Van der Sar’s crossbar. Before half-time he then embarked on a run towards the centre of the Manchester United defence before shooting.

The second goal

In the second half the game opened up even more and Messi had claims for a penalty waved away in the 50th minute. His statistics were also well on the way to being impressive as he completed 51 passes, with 84 per cent success rate, while Ronaldo managed 31 passes, with a 68 per cent success rate. In the 70th minute the two players were separated at last as Messi was picked out by a sublime cross from Xavi and he rose behind Ferdinand to send a stunning header beyond Van der Sar and into the far corner of the net. Ronaldo’s game concluded as he received a card for a tackle on Puyol and left Messi being crowned as the king of the Champions League with nine goals.

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Barca VS Man U: Did You Know?

May 27, 2009

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BY Roger Bogunyà

Barça and Manchester United meet in the Champions league final tonight. The following trivia provides some interesting background information for the game.

– It is Barça’s sixth appearance in the final. Of the previous five, they won two (1992 and 2006) and lost three (1961, 1986 y 1994). It is United’s fourth final, but they have won every time they have made it so far (1968, 1999 and 2008).

– Barça is the highest scoring team in the competition. In all they have scored 30 goals in 12 games (2.5 a match). That’s the best average since 1998/99, when Manchester United tallied 2.7 a game. So this game features the highest scoring side (30) against the one that has leaked the fewest goals (6).

– United have not lost in Europe for 25 games. In fact, they haven’t lost since they crashed to Milan, 3-0, in the 2006/07 semi final on May 2.

– Both sides won their leagues on the same day: May 16. Barça won theirs because Madrid lost to Villarreal and a draw was enough for United against Arsenal to guarantee the trophy.

– FC Barcelona have already won one trophy on May 27. That was in 1951, when they won the Spanish Cup final against Real Sociedad. They won 3-0, with goals from César (2) and Gonzalvo III, the first titles of the Kubala era.

– If United win, Sir Alex Ferguson will equal Bob Paisley’s record of three European Cup titles with Liverpool (1977, 1978 and 1981). Josep Guardiola can also make history by becoming the sixth man to win the competition as both a player and manager, following in the footsteps of Miguel Muñoz, Giovani Trapattoni, Johan Cruyff, Carlo Ancelotti and Frank Rijkaard.

– Thierry Henry has the most experience of scoring goals against United. With Arsenal he scored 9 times in 18 games against the Red Devils.

– This is the second meeting between the teams in a European final. The other was the Cup Winners Cup Final in 1991, played in Rotterdam and won by United, 2-1.

– Guardiola, Scholes and Giggs are all set to renew old rivalries. As players, they all crossed paths in the group stages in 1994/95. At Old Trafford, Paul Scholes was making his European debut. The Englishman and Welshman (and Gary Neville too) also faced Barça in 1998/99, and both scored in the 3-3 draw at Old Trafford.

– No side has retained the title since 1990, when Milan won consecutive championships.

– Two of the three previous finals in Rome’s Olympic Stadium have had an English winner, Liverpool on both occasions. The last final had no British presence, and no Spanish club has ever played the final in Rome.

– A team has won a treble every decade since the sixties, and Barça could continue that trend tonight. It would be the first of the 21st century and also the first for a Spanish club.

– United have only lost two games this season after scoring first, and both times against Liverpool. At Anfield, Benítez’s side came from behind to win 2-1, and at Old Trafford they ended up winning 1-4. An early United goal is rarely good news for the opposition.

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THE REFEREE 

Massimo Busacca, aged 40, will referee the final. The Swiss official, an international since 1999, has watched over 32 Champions League matches, including this year’s Porto v Manchester Utd quarter final. He also refereed the Barça v United semi final last season and the UEFA Cup final between Espanyol and Sevilla in 2007.

Pertembungan Ferguson – Guardiola

May 27, 2009

Ketika Pep Guardiola memenangi gelaran Piala Eropah buat kali pertama ketika beraksi bersama Barcelona, pengurus Manchester United, Alex Ferguson pula baru saja membentuk dinastinya yang telah merangkul 11 kejuaraan Liga Perdana England dalam tempoh 17 tahun.

Ketika itu, Guardiola baru berusia 21 tahun untuk menjulang trofi Eropah di Wembley pada 1992, sementara United yang terlepas kejuaraan liga, kembali bangkit mendominasi Liga Perdana England.

Perjalanan dua individu ini sangat berbeza di mana Guadiola, bekas pengutip bola di Nou Camp, mula dihormati dan menjadi perancang penting kepada Barca.

Ferguson pula yang baru berpindah dari kelab Glasgow, mula membawa kejayaan kepada United di England sejak tahun 1993 sehinggalah ke hari ini.

Dalam masa 23 tahun di Old Trafford, Ferguson telah merangkul 25 trofi kejayaan.

Guardiola pula, pada penampilannya sebagai jurulatih Barcelona di usia 38 tahun, telah memenangi dua trofi iaitu Liga Sepanyol dan Piala Raja-Raja.

Kini Ferguson dan Guardiola akan berdepan satu sama satu dalam perebutan kejuaraan paling berprestij di Eropah.

“Orang kata ada perbezaan besar di antara pengalaman yang dimiliki Alex Ferguson dan Pep Guardiola,” kata jurulatih Inter Milan, Jose Mourinho.

“Bagi saya, jika kamu bagus, kamu akan tetap bagus walaupun usia kamu 35 tahun atau 65 tahun.”

Sejak lebih sedekad lalu, Ferguson telah melahirkan pemain berstatus bintang seperti Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy sehinggalah kepada bintang baru, Cristiano Ronaldo dan Wayne Rooney.

Guardiola pula bermula di Barcelona sebagai pemain pada usia 13 tahun menerusi akademi kelab itu dan beraksi untuk Barca buat beberapa tahun sebelum berhijrah ke Itali.

Dia kembali semula sebagai jurulatih sebelum diberi tugas membimbing skuad utama Barca setahun yang lalu. – AP

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Who is Josep Guardiola?

May 20, 2009

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 Josep Guardiola i Sala was born at Santpedor (Barcelona) on 18 January 1971. After a long and successful playing career and a brilliant season in charge of Barça B, in the summer of 2008 he took over as first team coach at the club.

After having been one of the most important players in Barça’s history, Josep Guardiola is the new coach for the 2008/09 season, replacing Frank Rijkaard after two seasons with no major titles.

A fantastic record with Barça B

Previously he was coach of FC Barcelona’s reserves, tasked with taking the side back into the Third Division after relegation the previous season. That he did with impressive authority: 28 victories, 9 draws and 5 defeats. In the final play-offs his side saw off Castillo and Barbastre with an overall balance of 9 goals in favour and none against.

Under Guardiola, Barça ‘B’ didn’t lose a single game at home and developed a playing style characterised by defensive pressure, playing wide and using set pieces. Guardiola’s young players became more flexible and intense with a spirit of playing for the team. This ability to play a more all-round game was also seen in the system used, which could be switched from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 quite easily as a flexible response to the challenges posed by any rival.

Guardiola is the fifteenth Catalan to be FC Barcelona’s first team coach.

Before going into management, Guardiola was a class footballer who played almost all his career at FC Barcelona before going on to spells in Italy, Qatar and Mexico. He was at the Catalan club from when he joined its youth academy in 1984 until he left for Italy.

Barça honours

Among the trophies he won at Barça are six leagues (1990-91, 91-92, 92-93, 93-94, 97-98 and 98-99), a European Cup (91-92), a Cup Winners’ Cup (96-97) and two King’s Cups (96-97 and 97-98). During all this time Guardiola was the team’s organiser in his traditional number 4 shirt.

Other teams

In Italy’s Serie A he made his debut with Brescia in the 2001-02 season, followed by a year with Roma before going back to Lombardy. Later on he went further afield to Al-Ahly in Qatar for two seasons (2003-04 and 2004-05) and Dorados de Sinaloa (Mexico), where he hung up his boots for the final time in 2006.

Barcelona: La Liga 2008-09 Champion

May 20, 2009

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Two down one to go. Barca dah menang Spanish Cup dan La Liga. Satu lagi ialah Piala UEFA (Champions League) pada 27 May ini di Rome. Barca akan menentang Man United. Pertembungan di antara Ronaldo dan Messi, Ferguson dan Pep Guardiola.

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DIFFERENT PLAYING CAREERS

Ferguson was a forward with various Scottish clubs and only ever won two Second Division Championships.

Pep was a skilled midfielder who won a total of 16 titles playing for Barca.

Barcelona: Spanish Cup

May 14, 2009

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