Champions League - Paper Round: The Messi Final

Sun, 29 May 09:56:00 2011

What the papers say about Barcelona's mesmeric performance at Wembley, and the stunning impact of Lionel Messi in the win over Manchester United.

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The Observer

Headline: Bravo Barca; Messi's magic destroys United again and confirms Catalans as masters of Europe

Paul Hayward: A measure of Barcelona's brilliance is that many Manchester United supporters left Wembley feeling guilty pleasure. They applauded their own team as their players stepped through the rubble of this defeat but also tucked away the memories of the night they saw Lionel Messi and Xavi win a European Cup with mesmerising dexterity ... no side could have coped with the scintillating rhythms of Barcelona's passing or the virtuosity of Messi, who is a genre all by himself.


Sunday Telegraph

Headline: Simply the best; Messi leaves United's dreams in tatters

Henry Winter: All hail Lionel Messi and Barcelona, kings of the Beautiful Game. This was the Messi Final. This was the sort of spellbinding performance from Barcelona, and particularly their wonderful Argentine magician, that makes even cynics fall back in love with football. Pass and move, move and score. Bewitching ... The Messi Final will be remembered fondly by Catalans and neutrals alike. Barcelona put the smile back on to the face of football after a season of too many scowls.


Independent on Sunday

Headline: Simply the best; Messi the destroyer as Barca outclass United in 3-1 European Cup final win

Peter Jenson: Finally after 681 minutes it came. Leo Messi's 54th-minute goal last night was his first in England and it came so soon after it had seemed that he had missed his greatest opportunity to break a duck that had seen him play seven matches for Barcelona and one for Argentina without scoring on English soil. At 23 Messi is already running out of records and milestones and after failing to find the net at Anfield, Old Trafford, the Emirates and Stamford Bridge he chose the greatest stage to write another chapter in his extraordinary story.


Sunday Times

Headline: Oh so easy; magical Messi leaves United floundering

Duncan Castles: The horrible sense of deja vu was hardest to bear. For Wembley 2011 the Manchester United script read painfully like Rome 2009; its distressing denouement a team in blue-and-red playing party games with the trophy that Sir Alex Ferguson covets beyond all others.


Sunday Express

Headline: The Lionel King; marvellous Messi kills of United's challenge

John Richardson: The carousel which is Barcelona's glittering football tossed Manchester United aside last night like discarded baggage to break English hearts. Pep Guardiola's side play football from the gods and possess, in Lionel Messi, the twinkle-toed master of the universe.


Mail on Sunday

Headline: Messi the magician; Sir Alex hails Barcelona as 'the best we've ever played'

Rob Draper: If Wembley is the stage, the Leo Messi is the player. Last night, Barcelona won the Champions League, their third such triumph in six years, confirming the fact that they are the greatest team this generation has seen. And yet more than that was accomplished last night. The new Wembley Stadium, opened in 2007, came of age. It has staged some memorable games but whereas the old stadium resonated with the sprit of Ferenc Puskas, Sir Stanley Matthews , Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona, the modern incarnation lacked a sense of history. Now men and women will tell their grandchildren of how they watched the great Leo Messi beneath the stadium's grand arch.


Sunday Mirror

Headline: The best Bar none; Masterclass from Catalan wizards

Michael Calvin: Barcelona answered the call of history, and ended football's most enticing debate. The identity of the greatest club side was revealed by the thousand-yard stares of Manchester United's supporters. There was no disgrace in being beaten by a team that deserves to be ranked beyond Pele's Santos, Di Stefano's Real Madrid, Cruyff's Ajax and Gullit's AC Milan. The beautiful game has never been more radiant. Its ambassadors, led by Lionel Messi, have never been more convincing. It was a Champions League final for the ages.


Daily Star Sunday

Headline: Mess murder!; Brilliant Barca batter United

Steve Millar: Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson. OBE. CBE. The full title seems so fitting this morning after the night before. To be able to add Fergie the Third, King of Europe would have been even more of a perfect accolade of honour ... but an historic hat-trick was cruelly denied Ferguson at the holy shrine of our nation's football where his powerful predecessor Sir Matt Busby won Manchester United's first ever European Cup 43 years ago.


News of the World

Headline: Messiah!; Greatest player on the planet destroys United

Neil Ashton: When the debate rages, use these 90 minutes as evidence. When people dare to question whether Lionel Messi should be mentioned in the same realm as the giants of the game, then recall the moment s when Wembley could do no more than hold its breath at his genius. The beautiful game? It's never been more beautiful than when Messi is its every heartbeat.

Joy on streets of Barcelona


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