Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Legacy of Greatness: FC Barcelona

“We would like, in 50, 60 years, people are reminded of this team as one of the best. If this happens for us, it’s marvelous.” 
--Barcelona Manager Pep Guardiola, who's team won the Champions League soccer title against Manchester United on Saturday.   

Lionel Messi and David Villa scored second-half goals as Barcelona overpowered Manchester United, 3-1, on Saturday to win the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley Stadium in London.  Messi’s goal in the 54th minute was his 53rd in 55 games for Barcelona this season.

Guardiola won the title as a Barcelona player in 1992 and as its coach two years ago.  

To add pressure, Barcelona received a huge blow before the match, as captain Carles Puyol was deemed unfit to start.

Nevertheless, the match ended the debate about which team was the best in Europe, and renewed the one about whether the current Barcelona squad is the best club team ever.  The title was Barcelona’s third in six years and its fourth over all in the competition.  In beating Manchester United, Barcelona stakes claim to the most prestigious club title in the world, and fueling a debate about whether it is one of the best teams in soccer history. 
An estimated one million fans lined the streets as FC Barcelona paraded the UEFA Champions League Trophy on an open-top bus journey from Madrid's airport. 
This great team also includes a soccer icon in Lionel Messi.  
“I think this genius is impossible to describe,” Pep Guardiola, Barcelona’s manager, said. “That’s why he is a genius. He has instinct. He loves to live with pressure. He is one of the best ever created.” 
“No one plays with as much joy as Messi does,” Eduardo Galeano, the celebrated Uruguayan novelist and author of “Soccer in Sun and Shadow,” said in an e-mail. “He plays like a child enjoying the pasture, playing for the pleasure of playing, not the duty of winning.”

Are you leaving a legacy of excellence?  

Excerpts from the Citizen Daily, Bleacher Report (May 29, 2011), and New York Times (May 21 & 29, 2011) .

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