Living the golden era with the best attacking trio in the world
It cannot be said enough times how fortunate we are to be living in an era with arguably the greatest footballer of all time.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a genius. And deserves every accolade, plaudit and tribute he has so far received.
But Lionel Messi is a superlative that hasn’t been created yet. He is head and shoulders above his contemporaries. Whenever you doubt him, he delivers. Whenever you think he’s quiet, he makes the difference.
Although his name was not on the scoresheet as Barcelona won their fifth Champions League trophy and sealed their second treble in four years, Messi was integral to everything.
He was constant thorn in Juventus’ side along with the other members of currently the best attacking trio in world football.
Alongside Luis Suarez and Neymar, Messi made sure Juventus were always on the back foot, feeling anxious about the threat they pose.
And they were right to be nervous because by the end of the final, their combined goal total for the season was an incredible 122.
Neymar’s goal in the final moments was a fitting way to end the campaign which has seen them win La Liga, Copa del Rey and the European Cup.
But it could have been different had Juventus capitalised on Barcelona’s shaky start to the game.
Javier Mascherano lost possession and then miscontrolled a pass all within the first two minutes.
But once Messi got picked up the ball the warning signs were not heeded by the Italians.
The Argentine swept the ball wide to marauding left back Jordi Alba, he in turn gave it to Neymar.
The Brazilian fainted to pass until the exact moment Andres Iniesta has escaped Arturo Vidal.
As always, Iniesta had the composure and presence to pass to Ivan Rakitic to open the scoring. It was the perfect team goal and you feared for Juventus at this point.
Gianluigi Buffon was forced into a number of top saves just to keep his side in the match as Barcelona threatened to run riot.
And they were rewarded with an equaliser 10 minutes into the second half. Claudio Marchisio back-heeled the ball to Stephan Lichtsteiner, who made an excellent overlap. Lichtsteiner’s pass fell to Carlos Tevez whose shot was saved by Marc-André ter Stegen but the rebound fell to Alvaro Morata to finish.
At this point Barcelona were rattled and needed someone to restore their superiority. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Messi picked up the ball just inside Juventus’ half and he burst past everyone in his way like a force-field was surrounding him. His shot was saved by Buffon but the veteran could only parry the ball into the path of the onrushing Suarez, who had an unguarded net to slot home into.
Juventus fought valiantly to respond but Barcelona defended strongly and waited to pick them off on the counter attack which Neymar duly did with the final kick of the match.
It was a thrilling way to end a long season. The two best sides in Europe putting on a show in the Olympiastadion, one of the most iconic stadiums in the world. And at the end, Barcelona’s three champions cemented their status as the most dominant club team in modern football history.