Andres Iniesta and Xavi Ooze Class As Barcelona Thump Manchester United
In all the build up we heard leading up to the Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona, all the talk was Messi vs. Ronaldo and who would lead their team to victory and prove to be the best in the world.
While the top two players in the world battled against one another to take all the headlines, Barca midfielders Xavi and Andres Iniesta stole the show.
It seemed as though Man United would take the cake based on the opening ten minutes of the first half, dominating the attack and every other major aspect of the game and it was because of Ronaldo. CR7 was all over the place and came within inches of taking control of the game.
Then poof...it was gone in an instance.
Samuel Eto'o, on a classic Barcelona attack, claimed the lead, which wouldn't have been if not for Iniesta charging down the field, past his central midfield counterpart Michael Carrick and slipping a jewel of a pass to his Cameroonian teammate.
As Barca celebrated, the Manchester mojo evaporated and you could just see Lady Momentum switching to the Spaniards' bench in a matter of moments.
Manchester United was stunned, and rightfully so. How many times have they dominated the opening ten minutes of a game and saw themselves on the opposite end of a 1-0 scoreline?
For Barcelona, the pressure of a Champions League final was lifted and that allowed the Barca we have seen all season to be released and put on display. Free flowing football at its best was taking place, a beauty for any football fan to watch.
As the minutes in the first half went on, it was the Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi show.
The pair of midfield maestros were on point with everything they did, feeding the Argentine whenever they wanted, which allowed let the tiny magician work show off his skills.
Their passing was as crisp as ever. Their tricks were present as usual, but they just executed everything with such ease the sense that they were on Europe's biggest stage couldn't even be felt by even the closest follower.
As Ronaldo became more-and-more frustrated over the course of the night, the complete opposite was happening for Xavi and Iniesta.
The two geniuses were at work and all we could do is just watch in awe.
As the second half turned, it was even more domination in the center of the park from the diminutive pair of Spaniards and the art of passing and skill was in full force, even more so than the first 45 minutes.
It was certainly a tale of two midfields.
Manchester United's midfield, Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Anderson, struggled to put any kind of stamp on the game and the complete opposite was happening with Xavi and Iniesta. They continuously busted out one-touch passes with a 100 percent success rate.
Anything was possible as Barca ran rings around their United counterparts with the utmost of ease.
And if Xavi needed one more thing to say he was the man of the match, it was the assist he put on the spot to Messi's head that sealed the deal. Even being short in stature, Messi rose to the occasion, putting the game away with 20 minutes to go.
A great goal wouldn't have been if it wasn't Xavi's peach of a cross.
Just four minutes later it should've been even more for Xavi as he clearly beat Edwin Van der Sar but banged his free kick off the near post.
But it didn't matter, the victory was sealed. Messi will get the majority of the headlines, and deservedly so. Some have to think though, if it wasn't for the midfield duo of Xavi and Iniesta, the result might have been different.
Take a bow boys, you earned this one.
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