Barca Too Good
5/31/2011 6:56:37 PM -
Barcelona produced one of their greatest performances to beat Manchester United 3-1 and win the UEFA Champions League at Wembley last Saturday night.
Pep Guardiola’s side dominated much of the match and although Wayne Rooney’s goal gave Sir Alex Ferguson’s side some hope at 1-1, strikes from Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa ensured Barça earned a deserved victory.
FIFA.com examines some of the fascinating statistics behind their triumph.
98 : is the combined number of goals scored this season by Barça’s heralded attacking trio of Messi, Villa and Pedro — nicknamed MVP — after they all found the net in the final. Messi accounted for more than half of that number, with the Argentinian’s second-half strike bringing his total to 53 for the season, while Villa and Pedro ended with 23 and 22 respectively.
Messi’s goal was his 12th in the 2010/11 Champions League, equalling Ruud van Nistelrooy’s single-season scoring record in the competition. He also became only the third player to score in multiple Champions League finals, following former team-mate Samuel Eto’o and Real Madrid legend Raul.
74: Is the number of days after it was announced that he required surgery on a liver tumour, French left-back Eric Abidal played in the final and, in an emotional gesture befitting the occasion, was allowed to lift the trophy on behalf of the team.
It was an overwhelmingly positive ending to a difficult period for Abidal, who has shown tremendous courage to find full fitness in such a short space of time. Although he nobly relinquished the chance to raise the cup aloft, Carles Puyol became only the second captain to lead his side to collect the European Cup on three separate occasions, matching Franz Beckenbauer’s feat for Bayern Munich between 1974 and 1976.
4: Barça have now been crowned kings of Europe for the fourth time, having won the original European Cup in 1992 and added Champions League titles in 2006, 2009 and 2011.
Their record of three Champions League successes is matched only by Madrid and AC Milan, and they are now joint-fourth in the all-time winners list — alongside Bayern and Ajax — behind those two and Liverpool. The Catalans have now won 11 major European trophies.
2: Two is the number of times Barça have won the European Cup at Wembley, the first being their 1-0 victory against Sampdoria in 1992, when Ronald Koeman scored the winning goal with a free-kick in extra time. Guardiola was a player that night as Johan Cruyff guided the team to their first European Cup.
Indeed, had United been victorious last night, it would have been their second celebration at Wembley, after their 4-1 George Best-inspired win over Benfica in 1968.
La Liga rivals Madrid (in Paris and Glasgow), five-time champions Liverpool (in Rome) and Serie A side Milan (in Athens) have also lifted the European Cup twice at the same venue.
1: One more season, at least, is how long coach Guardiola plans to remain in charge, revealing in the aftermath of the final: “I intend to stay one more year here and then we will see. It all depends whether I feel the passion.”
Having won three consecutive La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies in three years, Barça fans around the world will be hoping that passion continues to inspire their favourite son.