UEFA Champions League Final: Will a Barcelona Triumph Put Them Among Best Ever?
A UEFA Champions League final victory for Barcelona over Manchester Untied on Saturday at Wembley will unquestionably solidify Barca's claim of being the best side in the world this year.
But will it also make their case as being one of the best club sides of all time?
Surely, they should be in the conversation.
They dominated domestically and cruised to a La Liga triumph. Although Barcelona fell short in their Copa del Rey final against bitter rival Real Madrid, consider alone the amount of talent Barcelona boast and—with a win over United—they have to at least be mentioned among the all-time bests.
Lionel Messi is a once-in-a-generation striker in the prime of his career. David Villa and Pedro are both superb partners up top for the dangerous, diminutive Argentine.
Sergio Busquets and the seldom-used Javier Mascherano are considered two of the best defensive midfielders in the world.
Add a brick wall defensive pairing of Spaniards in Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique and 2011's Barcelona side is easily one of the most complete sides in recent memory.
Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl writes:
But winning the Spanish League and Champions League titles would be more than enough to make up for it, and the dominance of this Barcelona team sets it apart, both statistically (goals scored, time of possession, number of passes) and stylistically. (We'll be telling stories to our grandkids someday about watching the brilliance of Lionel Messi and Xavi and the gang.)
Will Barcelona vault into the discussion of best team of all time? They'll have to topple a similarly-complete Manchester United side, first.
Hardly a small task.
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