The talent on show at this weekend’s Champion’s League final between Barcelona and Juventus is just awesome.
It should be one of the greatest ever, the expectations are huge … and let’s hope it does indeed prove to be the spectacle all football wants it to be.
But Italian sides have a habit of playing canny, may well look to frustrate, defend in depth, and hit on the break. For all neutrals an early Barcelona goal would help because that would force Juventus into a more expansive game.
Not that they don’t have quality themselves – Carlos Tevez, Paul Pogba and the sublime Andrea Pirlo.
It’s just that Barcelona possess Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar who have notched a combined total of 120 goals between them this season.
Messi alone has scored 58 goals for Barca in all competitions. He is bidding to win the fourth Champions League title of his career.
The 27-year-old has been at the heart of the club’s surge towards a potential treble and netted in the 3-1 Copa del Rey final win to help seal the second of the three targeted trophies. The Spanish league title was already in the bag following a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid, with Messi again on the score sheet.
So is it a foregone conclusion that Barcelona are going to prove victorious?
They are the firm favourites but Juventus are a big name, a proud club with tradition, and a team who work so hard for each other. And remember that they turned over Real Madrid in the semis, which nobody expected.
It is not a foregone conclusion in Berlin.
Any side with Pirlo and Tevez in their side has to have a real chance.
Pirlo can pass teams off the park as he has for the Italian national side against England – painful memories from the last World Cup. Tevez, a player well known to English fans through his time at West Ham, Manchester United and Manchester City can torment teams.
His persistence, clever runs and movement frighten defenders – somehow he has this ability to get under their skin. He takes the knocks but gives as good as he gets. He can spin players, glide past players, he is a very astute footballer.
Then there is Pogba – how Manchester United rue letting him slip through their fingers. Young players can find such occasions all too much, but I wouldn’t bet on it in the Frenchman’s case. He seems to thrive on challenges.
Whether you are lucky enough to be in attendance and enjoying the VIP corporate hospitality, watching it in a local bar or simply with your feet up at home, it is going to be pulsating viewing.
You just have to suspect that however good Juventus play Messi will somehow contrive a moment of genius.
Who is your money on?