The peak of the Pep era.
Barcelona and Manchester United have not often crossed paths. And they will play in the Europa League for the first time. At the same time, the last four meetings have consistently ended with the victory of Barca, including the 2011 Champions League final.
That match is in many ways iconic – sometimes it is called the best in the era of Guardiola. Pep deftly and to the point outplayed the greatest Ferguson (Sir Alex himself admitted this). The final is still shrouded in legends: Rooney called Fergie’s tactics suicide, Pep recalls the victory when his Man City are criticized by former Manchester United players.
In that Champions League, Barça tied with Rubin, and Manchester United were accompanied by scandals – with Giggs and Rooney
Both Barça and Man United were fine. In Catalonia, Pep was driving with primes Messi, Xavi and Iniesta. In Manchester, Sir Alex was in charge – in those years, United were steadily fighting for the Premier League and claimed a lot in the Champions League.
Barcelona, after two failures in a row with Rubin (1:2 at the Camp Nou and 0:0 in Kazan), again fell into the group with the team of Kurban Berdyev. And in the 2nd round on the road played 1:1. True, this draw is deceptive: Barça with Messi created 5 clear scoring chances and in a good way should have smashed Rubin (but Leo then praised Kazan for playing defense, and Pep said he was pleased with the result). In response, Guardiola released the reserves with 19-year-old Thiago Alcántara as a false nine and achieved an easy 2-0 win.
At the group stage, Barcelona did not experience any special problems and came out from the first place, beating Copenhagen, Rubin and Panathinaikos. In the 1/8 there was a difficult battle with Arsenal with a 1-2 defeat at the Emirates and a 3-1 victory at the Camp Nou. In the quarter-final, Shakhtar Donetsk got to it, and Barca destroyed it – 5:1, 1:0. Then fell the not yet overclocked Real Madrid with Ronaldo and Mourinho, who spent the first season.
And finally, Manchester United.
Manchester United ran the season as smoothly as possible – in the Premier League, an unbeaten streak lasted until February. And in the Champions League, we lost only in the final – there were no defeats along the way. But the season was overshadowed by scandals, one of which erupted right before the finale.
Ryan Giggs got into an unpleasant story: in April 2011, The Sun published an article about a certain football player who is cheating on his wife with the star of the Big Brother TV show and model Imogen Thomas. The name of the man was not reported, because, as it turned out, Giggs had already learned about the material being prepared and obtained an injunction against the publication of his name. True, the ban on publication in the English media did not apply to European ones. And on the eve of the match, the Catalan newspaper Sport revealed the name.
Arsenal fans are furious: Rodri’s foul could have ended Odegaard’s season
Who most of all sat in the reserve from the field? Serie A captured the top, the main cans are the defenders
Iranian life in detail. Three days in a country that is being choked by sanctions