Barça became European Champions in Rome’s Olympic Stadium after beating United. On their way to the final they had knocked out powerhouses like Lyon, Bayern and Chelsea. The third CL was in the bag and Rome had been added to London and Paris.
Barça went down in the history books in Rome after winning the club’s
Champions League title and, as a result, the treble. There were some magic moments in
Europe along the way with great wins and goals, like Iniesta’s at Stamford Bridge, that
really got Barça’s fans jumping.
Good group stage draw
Barça had to go the whole way to lift the Champions League trophy, starting in the qualifying rounds when they beat Wisla Krakow 4-1 on aggregate. They got a good draw in the group stages as they avoided the really big teams and lined up against Sporting Lisbon, Basel and Shakhtar Donetsk. After the 5th game, when the team thrashed the Portuguese 2-5 , Barcelona had mathematically finished top of the group.
Lyon and Bayern Munich are walloped
In the last 16 they came up against one of the big sides; Olympique Lyon, French champions seven times in a row. The first leg was a hard fought one-all draw at Gerland. But then came the Camp Nou, where Barça were already 4-0 up by the break and ended up winning 5-2 .
The quarter-final was a similar story, except for the thrashing coming in the first leg. Barça played perhaps their best 45 minutes of the entire season to put four unanswered goals past Bayern, who were destroyed before half-time. The return leg in the Allianz Arena was formality, the 1-1 draw enlivened by a great goal by Keita.
Iniesta shows the way
In the semi-finals Barça came up against another powerhouse in Chelsea. The goalless draw at Camp Nou meant Barça needed to score in London, and even more so after Essien put the Blues ahead. Barça had to overcome loads of hurdles that evening – the absence of Puyol and Márquez from the defence which meant Touré had to play at centre back, the sending off of Abidal in the second half, the home fans, etc. – and only their belief and persistence made the miracle possible; it was in the 93rd minute when Iniesta smashed home a drive from the edge of the box to put Barça through to Rome ( 1-1 ). The explosion of joy was evident.
Europe’s two best teams went head-to-head in the Rome final; Man United, the reigning champions, and Barça. The English began strongly for the first 10 minutes until Eto’o opened the scoring with a superb individual goal. From then on the game was Barça’s and they played the ball around superbly. Messi made it 2-0 in the second half and won his private duel with Cristiano Ronaldo, while the team, touched by the Gods of football, were crowned the best in Europe in Rome. Guardiola had won everything .