Saturday, May 28, 2011

Barcelona greatness

By Paul Frederickson

There are moments in sport when teams ascend to greatness. Rare moments they are and as a football lover those moments should be savored. The best team in the world, in winning the 2011 UEFA Champions League, Barcelona are one of the best teams to have ever have played the game.

3 Champions League finals wins in 5 years, one of the great world players dominating the last two wins in Messi and a style of play that bows to no one. Individual brilliance supplemented with a unique team passing game is a joy to watch no matter who you follow.

The Inter Milan team of 1964-65 and the Ajax teams of the 70s and 90's are lauded as great teams and it is impossible to compare across eras. But surely the total football that Barcelona play, based on the Dutch and Ajax game style so passionately displayed and taught by Johan Cryuff, is the most breathtaking and complete football that many of us will ever witness.

Xavi, Alves, Iniesta, Villa and Messi. These names can sit along the likes Cryuff, Van Basten, Neeskens, Rijkaard, Suarez, Peiro, Domenghini, Picchi, Corso, Mazzola, Facchetti and Jair.

The club expects greatness, the team expects greatness and the supporters view greatness. With 11 titles in 3 years, Guardiola and Barcelona are meeting all of the lofty expectations.

What a pleasure to be able to watch, commentate and marvel at this wonderful team!

Barcelona line-up 2011 Final: Victor Valdes, Dani Alves (Carles Puyol, 88), Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Eric Abidal, Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Pedro Rodriguez (Ibrahim Afellay, 90), Lionel Messi, David Villa (Seydou Keita, 86).