Saturday May 28, 2011 Final Finished Wembley

FC Barcelona 3 - 1 Manchester United

  • Pedro 27’
  • Messi 54’
  • Villa 69’
  • Rooney 34’

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  1. Barcelona fans arrested

    Barcelona fans arrested

    Police detained more than 80 people for public order offences and other infringements after Barcelona's celebrations turned ugly. More

  • Live Commentary

    Time:90'
    • FC Barcelona
    • Manchester United
    • - Thanks for joining me on a momentous occasion. All you can really ask in football is for worthy winners, and we certainly have those. Until next season...
    • - And in a lovely touch, Barcelona have handed the captain's armband to Eric Abidal, and it is the Frenchman who lifts the Champions League trophy!!
    • - Nick Clegg looks on, appropriately enough, as United collect their losers' medals. Ferdinand and Vidic readily admitted they lost to a special team in on-pitch interviews.
    • 90+4' BARCELONA WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!! The best team in Europe win the biggest prize in Europe. They are thoroughly deserving champions - one of the best club sides ever.
    • 90+3' Afellay hits a low shot, saved comfortably by Van der Sar.
    • 90+2' Barcelona make their final change - Ibrahim Afellay is on for Pedro.
    • 90+1' Iniesta tries to catch Van der Sar out with a lob from long range... the Dutchman is equal to it.
    • 90' Hernandez almost shies away frm a cross as it comes into the box - that was horrible.
    • 89' Nani has at least got Barca worried... he cuts inside again but eventually gets crowded out.
    • 88' Almost the biggest cheer of the day greets the arrival of Carles Puyol, who comes on for Dani Alves.
    • 87' A strange close-up shot of Fergie clenching his fists and chewing. This has got to be so frustraing for him.
    • 86' A standing ovation for David Villa as he leaves the pitch to be replaced by Seydou Keita.
    • 85' Yellow card Victor Valdes for time-wasting.
    • 84' Nani cuts inside from the right and drills a low left-foot shot just wide.
    • 83' A chance here as Hernandez gets to a long ball ahead of Valdes, but the goalkeeper recovers.
    • 82' Now Giggs fouls Xavi. That's just frustration.
    • 81' Valencia flies in on Iniesta, and that's a yellow card for the Ecuadorean.
    • 80' Nick Clegg is sitting next to Michel Platini, who looks decidedly unimpressed...
    • 79' Big penalty shout!! Giggs chips a cross into the hand of Villa, but there's no way that was deliberate.
    • 78' Rooney just won't give it up - he has had a fine game and continues to fly forward.
    • 77' It is party time for the Barcelona fans. When you support a team this good, you can afford to be complacent.
    • 76' Manchester United: Paul Scholes comes on for Michael Carrick.
    • 75' Giggs plays a lofted ball for Rooney, but he is aiming at one man when Barca seem to have fice or six forward.
    • 74' Messi fires it into the feet of Xavi inside the box, but for once his control lets him down. This is amazing stuff from Barcelona.
    • 73' Rooney dribbles to the edge of the box where he appears to be fouled, but referee Kassai says play on.
    • 72' Carrick finds Hernandez, who cannot control it. The United fans look resigned to their fate.
    • 71' Rooney goes for goal from outside the box, but his floater lands on the top of the net.
    • 70' Too good. Just too good. What can you say? A poor piece of control from the newly-introduced Nani led to that goal, incidentally.
    • 69' GOAL!! DAVID VILLA!! That must surely be it!! Messi started it with another sensational run before the ball foudn its way to Villa at the edge of the box, who curls it brilliantly into the top right corner!
    • 69' Manchester United change: Nani comes on for Fabio. Valencia to right-back, presumably.
    • 68' Nani is about to come on. Not sure what difference he'll make, but United have to do something...
    • 67' Messi plays it off Carrick and works the ball back to Iniesta, who drives a long shot into the arms of Van der Sar!
    • 66' XAVI!! He hits a Brazilian-style bender with the outside of his boot, and Van der Sar pushes it behind for a corner. Wonderful shape on that shot.
    • 66' Fabio is stretching after that clearance - a spot of cramp or something similar.
    • 65' Dani Alves cuts it back to messi who flicks goalwards and Fabio clears it off the line! It's relentless...
    • 64' Each Barcelona possession seems to get longer and more energy-sapping for United. The Spanish side are in total control.
    • 63' Messi again!! He spins away from Feerdinand and hits a low shot, but Van der Sar gets everything behind it!
    • 62' How will Fergie change things? Giggs and Hernandez have been particularly poor. You'd like to have Dimi Berbatov at your disposal, wouldn't you?
    • 61' Carrick flies in late on Iniesta, and it's another booking in quick succession.
    • 60' Poor from Giggs, who tries to get past Alves but is muscled off it really easily. United need to make the most of every possession.
    • 59' Alves upends Evra, and this will be the first booking of the game. Alves protests vigorously...
    • 58' There is an intruder on the pitch - almost certainly Jimmy Jump. Yeah, we get it. Catalonia is not Spain. Enough.
    • 57' Pedro runs down the left with plenty of support... he picks out Abidal who has strayed offside.
    • 56' So - can United do it again? They have not had much of the play, but we know how resilient they are. Valencia is lucky not to get booked for a bodycheck on Messi.
    • 55' A strange goal, that - but it brings up 100 goals for Messi in the last two seasons! Incredible.
    • 54' GOAL!! MESSI SCORES FOR BARCELONA!! He drills in a low, left-foot shot from the edge of the box! Van der Sar's positioning was not great and he will be disappointed.
    • 53' Once again, it's all Barca... danger here.
    • 52' GOOD SAVE VAN DER SAR!! He stays big and stops with his feet from Alves on the right side... then Messi's follow-up is headed behind for a corner.
    • 52' Ooh... Fabio makes a clearance from a Messi pass, but if he had found the unmarked Pedro there would have been trouble.
    • 51' Hernandez leans into Dani Alves, who makes the most of the contact and wins a free-kick.
    • 50' Iniesta looks for the pacy Pedro down the left channel - too much power on the pass.
    • 49' Rooney bustles his way past Pique, but Mascherano comes across and it goes out off the forward for a goal kick.
    • 48' Xavi crosses towards Pique and Vidic makes a good header - aha! Xavi fails to complete a pass!
    • 47' Pedro pulls it back from the left for Busquets who leaves it for Iniesta, whose shot is weak. Now Vidic deflects a Xavi shot for a corner. Instant pressure.
    • 46' Mascherano races all the way forward and crosses from the right... Vidic clears for a corner.
    • 46' Thanks Tony. No personnel changes to either team - United persisting with two up front.
    • - Anyway, Barca are coming back out now, a full two minutes after United, so I'll hand you back to Alex.
    • - Perhaps United fans were still digesting the news that Dimitar Berbatov had been left out of the matchday squad? A few of the wiser old heads in the press pack seem to reckon that Berbatov knew as early as Tuesday, when he refused to speak to any press at United's media day in Manchester. The Bulgarian made a sly getaway. Is that the end for him and United?
    • - In the ground before kick-off too, some of the visiting Spanish fans were taking their seats a full three hours before kick-off! When the teams were warming up, most of the noise was coming from the west end of the ground, Barca's end.
    • - I have to say, if the fans' performance counted for a goal in this game then Barca would be 2-1 up. The tube I got to Wembley was packed full of Blaugrana fans, and their chants of "Visca Barca, y visca Catalunya" easily drowned out the responses from United's supporters.
    • - United got off to a bright start, really exploiting the absence of Puyol with plenty of balls over the top for Chicharito to chase. Barca wised up though, and soon enough the tiki-taka machine clicked into gear. Pedro's opener was well deserved, but Rooney's classily taken leveller means this match very much hangs in the balance.
    • - Well, what a cracking half of football that was, no? After all the hype, I can't have been the only one beginning to worry that the match itself would not quite live up to its billing.
    • - Evening all. While everyone else goes to grab a criminally overpriced cuppa from the canteen, I'm staying out here to give you the view from Wembley at half-time. You can get in touch with me via Twitter @tony_mabert. Get in touch.
    • - And for your half-time entertainment, I am handing you over to Eurosport-Yahoo!'s Tony Mabert at Wembley!
    • 45+1' That's half-time, and it's one each. Engrossing stuff, but you have to feel Barcelona are big favourites.
    • 45' There are two balls on the pitch. Which might actually be the best way for United to ensure they have a modicum of possession.
    • 44' Rooney is getting an absolute rollocking from Fergie on the touchline - not sure what for, but it's full-on.
    • 44' Another chance for Barca!! Villa squares for the onrushing Messi who slides in but cannot make contact with the ball!
    • 43' Park knocks the ball past Mascherano, but again he is blocked off (legally). This time by Mascherano.
    • 42' Xavi plays it short to Busquets who helps it on towards Pedro, but inches beyond the goalscorer. A close shave for United. Not entirely unlike the Javier Zanetti free-kick v England at France '98.
    • 42' Foul by Valencia 35 yards from the United goal. Xavi and Messi stand over it...
    • 41' Half of Wembley clenches its buttocks every time Messi touches the ball. he's magic, and he nearly weaves his way through again - Rooney with the interception.
    • 40' There's not much wrong with Abidal. He stands firm as Park bounces off him - the Barca man shepherds it out for a goal kick.
    • 39' Iniesta lets fly from 30 yards... straight at Van der Sar. That Iniesta has scored an important goal or two in his career...
    • 38' Danny Baker (@prodnose) on Twitter: 'Fantastic to see the bumptious Barca fans suddenly all belt up in slow motion.' My thoughts exactly.
    • 37' United look a little disorganised as Messi finds Xavi and the Barcelona skipper fires over. A warning.
    • 36' Barcelona respond to that setback predictably enough - by putting together a long spell of possession. They're not easily rattled.
    • 35' That was sensational from Wayne Rooney, but Ryan Giggs did look a little bit offside in the build-up there. It's undeserved, but it's game on!!
    • 34' GOAL!! UNITED ON TERMS!! CRACKER FROM ROONEY!! He cuts inside from the right, exchanges passes with Ryan Giggs and finishes into the top left corner!!
    • 33' Barcelona have completed 265 passes to 100 so far. And it shows.
    • 32' Rooney's free-kick is headed clear. The Barca fans seem just a little triumphant. Mind you, they support the best team in the world by miles, so it's hard to blame them.
    • 31' United have a free-kick on the left, just inside the Barca half. How they would love (if not deserve) a goal here...
    • 30' Here come Barca down the right... Alves slices his cross well out of play. Poor.
    • 30' Vidic had a right go at Evra for not covering Pedro for the goal - and rightly so.
    • 29' Well, how do United respond to this? If they get too gung-ho they could be out of the game by half-time. Looks like those hopes Barca might have an off-day have proved unfounded.
    • 27' GOAL!! Pedro gives Barcelona the lead and you have to say that was coming. Pedro drifts into sapce on the right, Xavi finds him and the finish is low inside the right-hand post! Poor defending, but Barca get just reward for their pressure.
    • 27' Amazing stat (via @OliverKayTimes): 'Xavi 40 passes attempted, 40 passes completed. No #MUFC player in double figures yet'
    • 27' Fabio does well to turn his man, but then gives the ball away and here come Barca again.
    • 26' Hernandez cuts inside from the left and tries to find Rooney and/or Park in the middle. He cannot do it, but at least he stayed onside that time.
    • 25' Tremendous pressing from Barca, making United uncomfortable and forcing a mistake from Giggs - but Messi cannot gets a shot away.
    • 24' Carrick just looks a bit confused. He is standing there like a palooka as the ball zips around him. United have to get hold of it.
    • 23' Great challenge from Vidic to deny Messi a clear goalscoring chance! Had to be perfect and it was.
    • 23' Tweet from Jim White (@jimw1): 'eek. this looks ominous.' Yes it does.
    • 22' Villa has another crack! This time his diagonal shot from the right side of the box is on target, but Van der Sar dives to his right to smother it.
    • 21' A Ferdinand slip allows Villa to find Messi but the ball is nicked off the maestro's toe. And Hernandez is offside again.
    • 20' Villa opens up half a yard of space for himself at the edge of the box and cracks a powerful low shot just wide! Ominous for United.
    • 19' United are getting men back and trying to crowd Barcelona out when they get to the edge of the box - not pressing the Barca style.
    • 18' Great little run from Messi, forcing a hurried clearance for a Barca throw deep inside United territory.
    • 17' After that early flurry, United are under the pump a little bit here. Familiar story - not enough possession.
    • 16' Iniesta gets in behind Carrick and tries a cute through ball towards Pedro. Too much on it, and the Barca man nearly collides with the fifth(?) official by the side of the goal.
    • 15' CHANCE FOR PEDRO!! Xavi crosses low from the right, Pedro nips in front of Ferdinand but cannot gets his volley on target! That should have been one-nil!
    • 14' Slight crossed wires from the Spanish side as Villa passes towards Messi who is on his heels and the ball rolls through to Van der Sar.
    • 13' This is more like Barca. They are settling into their usual, mesmeric passing rhythm. And Hernandez strays offside. The new Pippo Inzaghi, anyone? And I mean that as a compliment - Inzaghi was immense.
    • 12' Pedro crosses from the left as Barcelona start to come into it... headed clear by Vidic.
    • 11' Good tackle Ferdinand to slide in and put the ball out for a corner with Villa about to pull the trigger on the left-hand side of the box.
    • 10' More defensive chaos from Barcelona as Hernandez chases a through ball and Pique fires a pacy backpass to Valdes who wasn't expecting it! Could have been disastrous.
    • 9' First spell of concerted pressure from Barca - Fabio concedes a throw, but then Barcelona are forced all the way back into their own half.
    • 8' Rooney chases a long ball through the middle, and a hesitation from Mascherano means Valdes has to race out and intercept it before the United man gets to it.
    • 7' Carrick spots Hernandez, who has strayed just offside. The Mexican loves to play on the last man's shoulder. On that occasion, he was playing just beyond it.
    • 6' Valdes slices a hurried clearance out of play... nervy start from the Spanish side.
    • 5' The game is only five minutes old, but is has been a good start from United. They have bossed possession and shown plenty of attacking intent - although they do not have anything to show for it yet.
    • 4' United enjoy a very positive spell of possession as whistles ring out from the Barcelona fans - then Fabio is penalised by referee Viktor Kassai.
    • 3' Busquets gets hit in the head by a Carrick blast - he is floored and the cheers echo around Europe.
    • 2' Poor clearance from Mascherano, whose lack of physical stature will surely come in for an examination from United.
    • 1' Game on! Manchester United kick off, playing from right to left as we see it. Played into the Barca box, where Victor Valdes gets an early touch.
    • 19:43 Say what you like about the Champions League, but that is a great anthem. If you're not even a little bit excited there's something wrong with you.
    • 19:41 The pre-match entertainment features umbrellas, bowler hats and four beefeaters are carrying the trophy out. Britain by numbers.
    • 19:40 The teams are in the tunnel! Barcelona in their famous blue and red stripes - United in their white change strip with red and black trim. Xavi leads Barcelona tonight in Puyol's absence.
    • 19:35 Ten minutes until kick-off! Welcome to our live coverage of the Champions League final! My name's Alex Chick, and I'll be taking you through the next few hours. Wayne Rooney has just whacked the kit man on the back of the head and is creased up with laughter. You're supposed to be taking ti seriously! twitter.com/alexchick81
    • 19:30 Our man at Wembley, Tony Mabert, says that ex-Liverpool man Javier Mascherano comes in for harsher treatment from the United fans than villain-in-chief Sergio Busquets. I know who I would be booing...
    • 19:25 Roy Keane (punditing on the telly) has underlined the importance to Fergie of putting United on the same level as teams like Bayern Munich, Ajax and AC Milan in terms of European Cups. United and Barcelona both have three.
    • 19:25 Fans are still pouring down Wembley Way and they will have to get a wiggle on if they want to be in position by kick-off.
    • 19:20 Fergie on his decision to leave out Berbatov: 'It's a heartache, and to make that decision is not easy.'
    • 19:15 The teams come out for the warm-up - the Barcelona fans are making marginally more noise at present.
    • 19:10 A telling stat from Opta: "Dimitar Berbatov has failed to score in his last 1134 minutes of action in the Champions League. His last goal in the competition dates back to October 2008 (v Celtic)."
    • 19:05 Funny tweet from @footieandmusic: 'Berbatov has just updated his Facebook status to: "It's complicated".' - Michael Owen is on the bench having scored five leage goals in two years. Golden Boot joint-winner Berbatov is sitting in the stands with nothing for company but his carnation/rose.
    • 19:00 This week we spoke exclusive to a host of top managers for their views on the final - here's how the likes of Roy Hodgson and Harry Redknapp see it: View from the dugout
    • 18:55 These teams have both won the competition three times - here is a round-up of their previous finals.
    • 18:50 There is widespread surprise at the omission of Barcelona's club captain Puyol. He was reportedly not moving well in training yesterday, but if he is injured why is he on the bench?
    • 18:45 With an hour until kick-off, things are really starting to buzz - here is our Wembley photo gallery
    • 18:40 And the bigger news is that Carles Puyol does not start! He is carrying an injury, and is replaced at centre-back by Mascherano. A big shock, and one that took everyone by surprise.
    • 18:35 That's big news, Eric Abidal starting just weeks after surgery to remove a liver tumour. Amazing.
    • 18:30 BARCELONA TEAM (Confirmed): Valdes; Abidal, Puyol, Pique, Alves; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Pedro, Villa, Messi... Subs: Oier, Puyol, Bojan, Keita, Affellay, Adriano, Thiago.
    • 18:26 MAN UTD TEAM: Van der Sar; Fabio, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Park; Rooney Hernandez... SUBS: Kuszczak, Smalling, Fletcher, Scholes, Anderson, Nani, Owen. Dimitar Berbatov left out altogether!
    • 18:25 Ash cloud to Zizou - here's your A-Z guide to the Champions League final! Champions League A-Z
    • 18:20 Fabio Capello: "I like Barcelona but the number of trophies is for AC Milan and Real Madrid." Oh, for goodness sake, man, it's been three years...
    • 18:15 Down on the message board, TONY yells: "Who is the idiot that dubbed this match "the­ champions league cup final of the decade" its­ 2011 the first year of this decade. so this final is­ the only one so far." Er, wasn't last year the first final of the decade?
    • 18:10 The Wembley pitch is in very good nick. So it should be - UEFA demanded that nobody so much as look at it in the fortnight following the FA Cup final.
    • 18:05 I know we've been talking a bit about football, but clearly all we're really interested in is WAGs. Here is a selection from both teams. It's shameless stuff. WAG gallery
    • 18:00 United are in the building. On second glance, those carnations they are wearing may actually be roses. Unless they swapped en route.
    • 17:55 manutd.com writer Nick Coppack (@nickcoppack) tweets: 'Rumours around the Wembley press box that Sir Alex has "sprung a major surprise" in his team selection. Something that would make you gasp.' Fletcher, Nani and Berbatov wouldn't make me gasp. Bebe would. What about Michael Owen?
    • 17:50 Less than two hours to kick-off! And a big hello to Yahoo! Sports users in the US - our sister site is linking here for tonight's coverage. Hello, my name's Alex Chick. If you've any comments or questions, stick them at the bottom of the page or tweet me. twitter.com/alexchick81
    • 17:45 And continuing the world-weary laments about the state of the modern game, Tony Mabert (@tony_mabert) tweets: "Once met a PR type from Sony who had been to six matches in their life: 5 CL finals and 1 World Cup final." Nice work if you can get it...
    • 17:40 This just in from Andy Mitten (@AndyMitten), who writes a Spanish football blog for us, among his many pursuits: "I've got mates who've seen Utd in 20+ countries without tickets. And I've seen "fans" on Wembley Way who look like it's their first match." Andy Mitten's Spain blog
    • 17:35 The unstoppable force against the immovable object? This from Opta: "Barcelona are the best attacking side in this season’s competition with 27 goals while Manchester Utd possess the best defence with four goals conceded in 12 games." More stats here
    • 17:30 Eurosport-Yahoo! blogger and occasional Daily Telegraph man Jim White (@jimw1) tweets: "Dozens of women holding up lollipops with corporate logos leading crocodiles of suits into wembley. Welcome to CL final." Ah, the beautiful game...
    • 17:25 A fair smattering of people already in their seats - this photo courtesy of our very own Tony Mabert. Bums on seats
    • 17:20 Up at Old Trafford, Stevenage have secured promotion with a 1-0 win against Torquay. Matchcast: Stevenage 1-0 Torquay
    • 17:15 Eurosport-Yahoo!'s @tony_mabert tweets from Wembley: 'Here's the plane #FCB will be flying home in. They'll look pretty silly if they disembark on El Prat runway as losers: http://bit.ly/mbpaZX' El Prat indeed... That photo...
    • 17:11 Here come the United players! They are wearing red carnations, making it look like they are on their way to a wedding.
    • 17:10 Barcelona's bus has already left their hotel in Chelsea Harbour and is on the way to Wembley. United will be leaving their hotel in Marylebone in about five minutes' time. The weather at Wembley is not the best - a very dreary afternoon.
    • 17:05 If you've just joined us, welcome! This is hour four of our live Champions League final build-up. My name's Alex Chick, and I'll be with you right through the evening. Your input is greatly appreciated - get in touch by Tweeting me. twitter.com/alexchick81
    • 17:00 Re: my Sepp comment at 16:30, @decoy5 makes a good point: "You can make that 85999 at the match tonight. UEFA are keeping 4000 seats empty as a security cordon ..."
    • 16:55 And in more multimedia madness, here's a video preview of tonight's game. Video: Champions League preview
    • 16:50 Earlier this week, Lyon won the Women's Champions League, beating Potsdam in the final. I've seen women's football in Potsdam (v Frankfurt in a Champions League final, two legs in those days) - they don't have a decent men's team so the whole town turned out. It was quality... See the goals here.
    • 16:45 Back to our Beatles songs - tonight's game is about Money. Here's a Reuters piece on just how much cash this game is going to generate. Three hours until kick-off. Champions League final to smash records
    • 16:40 Here's Paul Parker's latest blog, in which he notes Barcelona's physical strength as well as their technical ability.
    • 16:35 The Wembley gates are now open - though why anyone would want to go in three hours before kick-off is beyond me.
    • 16:30 Make tonight's attendance 89,999... Sepp Blatter has announced he will not be attending. The FIFA president has to face an ethics committee in Zurich tomorrow. Much homework to do... Blatter to miss Champions League final
    • 16:25 On which note, yesterday I went through the two sides doling out arbitrary marks out of 10 for each player. Who came out on top? Who do you think? The teams: Head to head
    • 16:20 Interesting question from @romshah: "What would be your ideal dream team comprised of these two clubs?" Mine is Van der Sar, Dani Alves, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Mascherano, Xavi, Iniesta; Messi, Villa, Rooney. Biggest question mark is the holding midfielder, as Guardiola obviously prefers Busquets to Mascherano. A fit Fletcher, maybe. What do you think?
    • 16:15 One man who won't be with us for the duration is @jcraigynwa, who tweets: "no way alex sick of listening to it and another 8 hours might just put me over the edge" - might that have anything to do with the Liverpool crest on your Twitter avatar? Not even the possibility of a Schadenfreude-enhancing Barca romp enough to keep you?
    • 16:10 Our roving reporter Tony Mabert has just ambled out of Wembley Park tube station - he tweets: "Going down Wembley Way. Sponsors have taken over, as you'd expect. Not nearly nauseating as FIFA World Cup fan zones though." That man has a tough life, you know.
    • 16:05 Good afternoon! Welcome to our live coverage of the Champions League final build-up. My name's Alex Chick and I'll be glued to my keyboard until the final whistle. We're entering hour three of this afternoon's live extravaganza - get involved by Tweeting me, or join the trolls on the comments board below. twitter.com/alexchick81
    • 16:00 There is a game on at Old Trafford as we speak - the League Two play-off final between Stevenage and Torquay - and there's been a goal! Stevenage v Torquay: LIVE
    • 15:55 Tonight's teams: The consensus seems to be that Eric Abidal will not be risked - that means Carles Puyol shifting to left-back and tiny Javier Mascherano coming into the centre. As for United, their XI looks pretty well set - the only bone of contention is O'Shea or Fabio at right-back. I think it will be Fabio - our data provider disagrees (see graphic below).
    • 15:50 On the subject of this being the 'most-anticipated final ever', Eurosport-Yahoo!s Mark Patterson comments: "I distinctly remember Manchester United and Barcelona being about to meet in the 2009 #championsleaguefinal and thinking 'meh'." twitter.com/markjpatterson
    • 15:45 A word on the man in the middle tonight - Hungary's Viktor Kassai. United always win when he refs. Which is, admittedly, based on a sample size of three games. Kassai to referee final
    • 15:40 @crispybanksy: "i'm hoping park and fletcher will throttle barca's supply and leave rooney to mopup and utilise hernandez' pace-pace is the key" - not sure Fletcher will start, but Park needs to help crowd the midfield. No point trying to outpass Barca so United probably best off denying them space and attacking with pace. twitter.com/alexchick81
    • 15:35 k writes: "lionel messi can be stopped and rendered ineffective in­ today‘s match. see what happened to him at the 2010­ world cup. he scored no goal in the tournament. he was­ effectively played-out of the game." Hmm, I don't think the World Cup is an apt comparison, as that Argentina side was a bit chaotic. It's true he doesn't play well in every game, but 50 goals a season suggests he gets it right more often than not.
    • 15:30 On Twitter, @wadiaskovn asks: 'ur predictions alex?' Thought you'd never ask. Barcelona are clearly the better team, and while that does not guarantee success I don't really see how you could predict anything but a Barca win. 2-1. All United can do is play very well and hope Barca have an off-day. If that happens? Well, who knows?
    • 15:25 United face an uphill task against a top class Barcelona side, but here are some pointers as to how they might approach the game.
    • 15:20 Here is the mighty Early Doors's take on proceedings: Two men on the verge of history
    • 15:15 Big Champions League occasions always seem to find Sir Alex Ferguson at his most misty-eyed. In yesterday's press conference, he predicted a classic.
    • 15:10 Well, that first hour of live coverage just flew by, didn't it? Your contributions will help the afternoon go by even quicker - leave your comment at the bottom of the page or Tweet me: twitter.com/alexchick81
    • 15:05 This match is, according to Sky Sports News, 'the most eagerly-awaited Champions League final ever'. How exactly do you quantify that? Meanwhile, we are hearing that United's Paul Smith-designed suits look 'very smart'. Well, that's a relief.
    • 15:00 Our sources at Wembley tell us the going rate for a black market ticket has risen to a preposterous £8,000. Yikes.
    • 14:55 We toddled along to the LMA Awards on Monday and asked a load of managers for their thoughts on the game - get your Roy Hodgson, Harry Redknapp, Mick McCarthy, Graham Taylor, Paul Lambert and Sir Trevor Brooking right this wey: Champions League: View from the dugout
    • 14:50 On the comments board, Mike is a confident Red: "Vidic is going to score. Twice. Hernandez will score in the first 5 minutes. Alves gets booked for diving. Stuntmen in Hollywood would have a hard time­ replicating Alves' acrobatic dives." Great side as they are, Barca aren't slow to hit the deck...
    • 14:45 Jim White dropped another fine blog yesterday, illustrating how well-prepared United are. They have been setting up the subs to play like Barca in training, with Nani as Messi and Owen as Villa. What about Bebe and Obertan as Xavi and Iniesta, though? Jim White: United's secret weapon
    • 14:40 Here is a photo gallery of Barcelona fans riding lions in Trafalgar Square, people on the hunt for tickets and the like. Champions League gallery
    • 14:35 To get you in the mood, here is a selection of the best finals in European Cup/Champions League history: Champions League: Magnificent Seven
    • 14:30 On Twitter, @RossiIvanova asks: "Do you expect a surprising move by SAF like starting with only one forward?" I don't - Hernandez's pace and movement have been really important in giving Rooney space to rediscover his form. If Fergie has a trick up his sleeve it could be in the form of Darren Fletcher. And there's the O'Shea/Fabio/Rafael conundrum at right-back. twiiter.com/alexchick81
    • 14:25 Wayne Rooney has just Tweeted: "Thx for all good luck messages. Listening to the beatles now just relaxing in hotel. Can't wait for game. Were ready." So - what Beatles song is most appropriate for tonight's game? Help! The End? Fixing A Hole (in the troublesome right-back position)? Help me out here...
    • 14:20 Down on the comments, board, the mysteriously-named 'R' asks: "Why do man u have to play in the white kit?" Simply because Barcelona are the designated home team and get first choice of kit.
    • 14:15 This is the culmination of a week of live build-up - we have been running a ticker all week with news, tweets and user comments - click the link to take a look. Champions League ticker: LIVE
    • 14:10 My name's Alex Chick, and I'll be with you until the final whistle tonight - you can leave comments on the message board below, or get in touch via Twitter. twitter.com/alexchick81
    • 14:05 As you might have realised, there's the best part of six hours until kick-off, but we will be bringing you all the latest news from the stadium, along photos, user interaction and some of the best bits of this week's build-up.
    • 14:00 Welcome to our LIVE coverage of the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United at Wembley!
  • Summary

    • - And in a lovely touch, Barcelona have handed the captain's armband to Eric Abidal, and it is the Frenchman who lifts the Champions League trophy!!
    • 79' Big penalty shout!! Giggs chips a cross into the hand of Villa, but there's no way that was deliberate.
    • 69' GOAL!! DAVID VILLA!! That must surely be it!! Messi started it with another sensational run before the ball foudn its way to Villa at the edge of the box, who curls it brilliantly into the top right corner!
    • 67' Messi plays it off Carrick and works the ball back to Iniesta, who drives a long shot into the arms of Van der Sar!
    • 66' XAVI!! He hits a Brazilian-style bender with the outside of his boot, and Van der Sar pushes it behind for a corner. Wonderful shape on that shot.
    • 65' Dani Alves cuts it back to messi who flicks goalwards and Fabio clears it off the line! It's relentless...
    • 63' Messi again!! He spins away from Feerdinand and hits a low shot, but Van der Sar gets everything behind it!
    • 54' GOAL!! MESSI SCORES FOR BARCELONA!! He drills in a low, left-foot shot from the edge of the box! Van der Sar's positioning was not great and he will be disappointed.
    • 52' GOOD SAVE VAN DER SAR!! He stays big and stops with his feet from Alves on the right side... then Messi's follow-up is headed behind for a corner.
    • 44' Another chance for Barca!! Villa squares for the onrushing Messi who slides in but cannot make contact with the ball!
    • 34' GOAL!! UNITED ON TERMS!! CRACKER FROM ROONEY!! He cuts inside from the right, exchanges passes with Ryan Giggs and finishes into the top left corner!!
    • 27' GOAL!! Pedro gives Barcelona the lead and you have to say that was coming. Pedro drifts into sapce on the right, Xavi finds him and the finish is low inside the right-hand post! Poor defending, but Barca get just reward for their pressure.
    • 22' Villa has another crack! This time his diagonal shot from the right side of the box is on target, but Van der Sar dives to his right to smother it.
    • 20' Villa opens up half a yard of space for himself at the edge of the box and cracks a powerful low shot just wide! Ominous for United.
    • 15' CHANCE FOR PEDRO!! Xavi crosses low from the right, Pedro nips in front of Ferdinand but cannot gets his volley on target! That should have been one-nil!
    • 11' Good tackle Ferdinand to slide in and put the ball out for a corner with Villa about to pull the trigger on the left-hand side of the box.
    • 18:40 And the bigger news is that Carles Puyol does not start! He is carrying an injury, and is replaced at centre-back by Mascherano. A big shock, and one that took everyone by surprise.
    • 18:30 BARCELONA TEAM (Confirmed): Valdes; Abidal, Puyol, Pique, Alves; Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta; Pedro, Villa, Messi... Subs: Oier, Puyol, Bojan, Keita, Affellay, Adriano, Thiago.
    • 18:26 MAN UTD TEAM: Van der Sar; Fabio, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Park; Rooney Hernandez... SUBS: Kuszczak, Smalling, Fletcher, Scholes, Anderson, Nani, Owen. Dimitar Berbatov left out altogether!
    • 17:50 Less than two hours to kick-off! And a big hello to Yahoo! Sports users in the US - our sister site is linking here for tonight's coverage. Hello, my name's Alex Chick. If you've any comments or questions, stick them at the bottom of the page or tweet me. twitter.com/alexchick81
    • 17:05 If you've just joined us, welcome! This is hour four of our live Champions League final build-up. My name's Alex Chick, and I'll be with you right through the evening. Your input is greatly appreciated - get in touch by Tweeting me. twitter.com/alexchick81
    • 16:30 Make tonight's attendance 89,999... Sepp Blatter has announced he will not be attending. The FIFA president has to face an ethics committee in Zurich tomorrow. Much homework to do... Blatter to miss Champions League final
    • 16:05 Good afternoon! Welcome to our live coverage of the Champions League final build-up. My name's Alex Chick and I'll be glued to my keyboard until the final whistle. We're entering hour three of this afternoon's live extravaganza - get involved by Tweeting me, or join the trolls on the comments board below. twitter.com/alexchick81
    • 14:25 Wayne Rooney has just Tweeted: "Thx for all good luck messages. Listening to the beatles now just relaxing in hotel. Can't wait for game. Were ready." So - what Beatles song is most appropriate for tonight's game? Help! The End? Fixing A Hole (in the troublesome right-back position)? Help me out here...
    • 14:00 Welcome to our LIVE coverage of the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United at Wembley!

Team Line-up & Ratings

  • Line-up

    Live Team Line-Up

    • Starting line-up

      • Víctor Valdés Yellow Card
      • Dani Alves Yellow Card Substitution Out (88′)
      • J. Mascherano
      • G. Piqué
      • E. Abidal
      • S. Busquets
      • Xavi
      • A. Iniesta
      • D. Villa Goal Substitution Out (86′)
      • Pedro Goal Substitution Out (90′)
      • L. Messi Goal

      Subs

      • C. Puyol Substitution In88′
      • S. Keita Substitution In86′
      • I. Afellay Substitution In90′
      • A. Correia
      • O. Olazábal
      • Thiago
      • Bojan
    • Starting line-up

      • E. van der Sar
      • Fábio Substitution Out (69′)
      • R. Ferdinand
      • N. Vidic
      • P. Evra
      • M. Carrick Yellow Card Substitution Out (77′)
      • R. Giggs
      • A. Valencia Yellow Card
      • J. Park
      • W. Rooney Goal
      • J. Hernández

      Subs

      • M. Owen
      • P. Scholes Substitution In77′
      • T. Kuszczak
      • D. Fletcher
      • C. Smalling
      • Anderson
      • Nani Substitution In69′
  • Rate Players

    Rate Players

    Please to rate the players.

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    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      Yellow Card - -
      Defenders
      Yellow Card Substitution Out88′ - -
      - -
      - -
      - -
      Midfielders
      - -
      - -
      - -
      Strikers
      Goal Substitution Out86′ - -
      Goal Substitution Out90′ - -
      Goal - -
      Subs
      Substitution In88′ - -
      Substitution In86′ - -
      Substitution In90′ - -
    • Player Y! Users Expert My Rating
      Goalkeeper
      - -
      Defenders
      Substitution Out69′ - -
      - -
      - -
      - -
      Midfielders
      Yellow Card Substitution Out77′ - -
      - -
      Yellow Card - -
      - -
      Strikers
      Goal - -
      - -
      Subs
      Substitution In77′ - -
      Substitution In69′ - -

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