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The Dream Final

May 26, 2009

I tend not to talk about European soccer; I try to stick with what I know. I do know one thing however: tomorrow’s Champions League Final looks to be a dream matchup. The two recently crowned champions of England and Spain, deep with attacking talent, with rich histories, and recent Champions League success face off in Rome in a little over 12 hours.

The English champions, Manchester United are led with a deep attacking lineup. Ronaldo and Rooney lead the attack as Berbatov, Tevez, and Giggs among others rotate in and out of the lineup. Unbelievable when you can leave players like that out of the team sheet. Just as deep is the midfield and backline with Park, Anderson, Carrick, Scholes in the midfield, they might not even miss the red carded Fletcher. The backline is staffed by some of the best defenders in the world like Ferdinand and Vidic in the middle with the prowling Evra on the left side. It is hard to imagine just any team staying with United.

Barcelona isn’t just any team though. Manchester United may have a deep attack, but Barca scored over 100 goals this year. Led by the brilliance of Messi, the attack has talented forwards like Eto’, Henry playing out wide, even young Bojan making an impact. The engine lies a little deeper with this team. Xavi and Iniesta play that probing, thoughtful role in the attack. Those two play the neat balls into space or that cutting pass that rip apart a defense. If there is one weakness, the defense has been decimated by injuries and suspensions. Defenders Abidal and Alves will be out with suspensions. Marquez is out due to injury. Former United player, Gerard Pique will have to lead the defense at the tender age of 22.

With such star studded lineups, there will be battles all over the field. Can Barca stop Ronaldo without their star defenders. How will United contain the multipronged Barcelona attack. I will be especially interested to see how Xavi and Iniesta match up with the Man Utd. midfield. I would expect to see Anderson and perhaps Scholes tasked with choking out the Barcelona instigators. I absolutely love a good midfield battle.

I guess if pegged for a pick, Manchester United, because of the magic of Alex Ferguson, the deeper roster, and the ultimate game changer in Ronaldo.

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