The Champions League Trophy
It’s on.  The dream final is set for May 27th in Rome. It’s Barcelona’s beautiful game vs. Manchester United’s world-beaters.  You couldn’t ask for anything more in a final.  The game pits Spain’s best vs. England’s best, and affords United the chance to defend their European title against a Barcelona side that is arguably the most stylish team in the world at the moment.  And the best part is there should be goals, goals, and more goals. 

Lionel Messi-The Young Gun

If you are a European soccer fan, then you don’t need me to tell you that the final on May 27th will be worth watching.  But if you aren’t a fan of soccer (or football as it’s known everywhere else in the world-and for good reason), the UEFA Champions League Final on the 27th is the perfect introduction. Not only will you get to watch the reigning World Player of the Year in Cristiano Ronaldo, in arguably his biggest game, but you’ll also get to watch the new kid on the block square off against him.  Lionel Messi, who was last year’s runner up, is the guy that seems to get everyone’s vote as the new World Player of the Year, and it will be fascinating to see which player’s talents are the most influential in the final.  Beyond this gargantuan battle between the two best players in the world, there is the battle of the teams they play for.  Manchester United are the reigning European and World Club Champions.  They also were just crowned Champions of the English Premier League for a record tying eighteenth time.  So needless to say, they are doing all right.  Barcelona were recently crowned Champions of the Primera Liga in Spain, a week after winning the country’s elimination round tournament known as the Copa Del Rey.  Reports from Spain claim that a win in the final against Manchester United would put an exclamation point on the club’s best season ever.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo-The Reigning Champ

But let’s get to the goals part.  Barcelona will be missing their best defenders in Rafael Marquez (knee injury) and Carles Puyol (suspension), so chances are that Manchester United’s awesome Ronaldo led attack force will score some goals. United are by no means a one trick pony, with Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov, and Carlos Tevez fighting for playing time up front.  That being said, Barcelona head into the final boasting the most potent strike force in Europe this year. Their three-prong attack, led by the twenty one year old Messi, Samuel Eto, and Thierry Henry, has combined for more goals than any other team on the continent this year.  The question is, whether or not their skills can get the best of Manchester United’s well-oiled machine of a defense.  But of course the larger question is:  Who's going to win?  My guess is that Barcelona's superior midfield, led by Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, will carry the day. Will there be goals, goals, and more goals?  I can’t say for sure, but if the game lives up to it’s promise, people will be talking about this one for decades.  My advice: tune in.