For all of those typical American sports fans who only follow soccer for a brief one month period during the World Cup…yes soccer is played year round.
In the European soccer’s version of the Super Bowl, perennial powers Manchester United and Barcelona will square off in the Champions League Final this Saturday. Both teams are looking to cap off tremendous seasons with Manchester United already winning England ’s top league, the Barclays Primer League, and Barcelona doing the same in the Spanish equivalent, La Liga.
With their title this year, United passed Liverpool for most titles all time with 19. United last Championship title came in 2008 where soccer fans will remember their epic battle with English rival Chelsea. United barely won that game in penalty kicks with Chelsea defender John Terry slipping on a potential winning penalty. This year will be a rematch of the 2009 final in which Barcelona came out victorious, winning 2-0. In this year’s final, both teams somewhat resemble their squads from two years ago but both with some major differences.
Barcelona is led by the best soccer player in the world, Lionel Messi. A lefty with incredible speed, ball skills, and a tremendous shot, Messi has the skill to take over this final. With the help of Spanish striker David Villa, Barcelona possesses the most dangerous one-two punch in the sport. However, what fans will notice if they tune in is Barcelona ’s incredible passing. Barcelona ’s midfield controls the game allowing its team to dominate possession and passing statistics. With veterans Xavi and Andres Iniesta, Barcelona will be hard to stop.
On the other side, Manchester United is led by a tremendous defense anchored by Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, and Nemanja Vidic. Up front the Red Devils will rely on the services of Wayne Rooney. With Chrstiano Ronaldo heading to Real Madrid a few years ago, the bulk of the scoring has been put on the shoulders of Wayne Rooney. Rooney will work with the tall and lanky Bulgarian, Dimitar Berbatov or the young Mexican sensation Javier Hernandez, (also known as Chicharito).
This match up will bring together two of the world’s most storied teams in one of the world’s most storied arenas. Wembly Stadium in London will host this final which should help Manchester United slightly. In this game watch for a low scoring affair with penalties a legit possibility. However, in big games big time players need to step up. With many players already with a World Cup Final experience and striker Lionel Messi, I think that Barcelona will be too much for Manchester United.
Barcelona 1, Manchester United 0.