No way Pedro

FC Barcelona 3 - 1 Manchester United - Champions League final - Wembley May 28th, 2011

as Del Boy* would have said to Fergie.

So the two best teams in Europe met in the Champions League final at Wembley and one team was on a completely different level.

The first ten, fifteen minutes ManUre were up for it and in the game, Park was haranguing and hassling every blaugrana, while Barca looked out of sorts. But once they were back in those sorts, bar a few minutes just after the half hour mark, this was a no contest.

In the end ManUre were pretty lucky to come second.

Was it ever going to be any different? I mean, two years on from their last meeting in the final and while Barca have advanced ManUre aren’t as good as they were in Rome.

The delight of watching Xavi, Iniesta and Messi in full flight only matched by the schadenfreude you feel while seeing Sir Fergie of Puceface’s nose going a deeper and deeper shade of ugly. He may bleat on about how the whole of the country wouldn’t be behind his team in the way they were at Wembley in ’68. Well the whole of the country weren’t behind Busby’s lot back then but the reason there’s even less now can probably be linked to one certain person. The one with the throbbing, pulsating, almost glowing nose.

Does the schadenfreude stop there, no there was also the well known family man. As I heard someone say on the telly Ryan Giggs spent all that money to be anonymous when he achieved it on Saturday night for free. So anonymous was he that Gareth Southgate kept insisting it was Hernandez that offside and played the ball to Rooney for the equaliser.

Now you have to ask yourself was it because of his image being tarnished that the media were finally honest in their assessment of his on-field activities? Though I did hear or read someone praise his control of the ball before playing in Rooney, when in fact it just bounced off his thigh while he hadn’t a clue.

So back to Barca and three cracking goals from their 3 strikers. Nice defending for the first one, Evra and Vidic all over the place thanks to Messi’s earlier dribble, was like a school yard when everyone follows the ball. And for the third a classic piece of Ferdinand defending, pretending to block a shot when he actually ponces out of the way.

A top notch game, this was football at it’s finest, every plaudit no matter how over the top is fully deserved. Though are Barca the greatest ever team, it can’t be said because conditions were so different for teams of the 60s/70s/80s, heavy balls, heavy boots, heavy pitches and heavy challenges As for the talk of Messi and where he ranks amongst the list of all time great players, well the reasons I’ve heard for him not to be alongside Maradonna and Pele are that he hasn’t led his country to a World Cup. On that basis you have Maradonna ahead of Pele, even though the latter leads three wins to one because those Brazil sides could have one without Pele. Would Argentina have won in ’86 they certainly wouldn’t have got to the ’90 final without their number 10. So Messi just below Maradonna and ahead of Pele because the Brazilian never tested himself on the European stage, winning La Liga and the Champions League rank higher than scoring in the MLS.

Barca doing the right thing even to the end when they had Eric Abidal lift the trophy only a few months after he’d had surgery to remove a tumour from his liver.

* I always think of Del Boy saying that when I see Barca or Spain play and Pedro is in the team. It stems from Danny Baker and his response to various names, players and teams – Zidane = You’re rocking the boat, Valencia = Stick your head between your knees and whistle up your Barcelona and a personal favourite [Luis] Boa Morte = Bum!.

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