What a fantastic spectacle of football – the Champions League final lived up to the hype. Barcelona deserved their 3-1 victory but Juventus played well and could even have nicked it.
We got an early goal through Rakitic which was needed in order to have a free-flowing game. And the referee, excellent throughout, kept Juventus honest with yellow cards for Vidal and Pogba.
There were long periods where Barcelona threatened to pass Juventus off the park, without getting a second which would have shut down the match. That gave Juventus a chance and after equalising through Morata they had a spell when the momentum was with them.
What might have happened if they had got another? Probably Barcelona would have come back … but there was no Juventus second.
Instead the Spaniards got back on top through a typical Suarez poacher’s finish and Neymar put it to bed with the last kick of the game to place the difference between the two sides into more fitting perspective. Messi was the little general, Iniesta was always probing, Suarez kept making run after run.
Morata was excellent for Juventus as was Marchisio. And the two who somehow got away from Manchester United, Pogba and Pique, put in great performances.
Both teams will keep developing. It was the last Barcelona appearance for a legend, Xavi. Some of the more elderly in Buffon, Tevez, Pirlo and Mascherano were looking their age. What is Pogba’s future?
But, with a forward line of Neymar, Suarez and Messi, Barcelona for sure look set fair for further achievement – league, cup and Champions League all won this season. It doesn’t get better than that.
It wasn’t long ago, thrashed by Bayern Munich, the pundits were predicting the end of tippy-tappy football. They got that wrong big style.
PS: a desperately dull poor quality 0-0 outcome in Dublin between Ireland and England – would a single player on either side get into the Spanish or Italian sides? Not even Rooney I venture to suggest.