Saturday, 28 May 2011

Manchester United Vs Barcelona - A Classic European Final

It's shaping up to be an epic.

Arguably two of the best club teams in world football at present will fight it out tonight for Europe's top prize - to be Champions of Europe.

The current Spanish champions take on the current English champions in what will be a fitting climax to the tournament this year.

The Wembley Factor
The venue is also adding to the occasion. It is a venue that goes down in glorious history for both clubs. Manchester United won their first European Cup against Benfica at Wembley in 1968 whilst Barcelona won their first European Cup (the final one in its original format before it changed to the Champions League in 1992/93) down Wembley Way in 1992. So both sets of fans that will be descending on London today will have fond memories of this stadium.

Incredibly, both Manchester United and Barcelona are tied on 3 European Cups/Champions League titles each.

Manchester United - 1968, 1999 and 2008
Barcelona - 1992, 2006 and 2009

The winning club will move level on 4 titles with Bayern Munich and Ajax with only Liverpool (5), AC Milan (7) and Real Madrid (9) ahead of them.

Indeed, Barcelona's last victory in 2009 was against Manchester United so there's going to be a sense of payback tonight which adds to the tension.

I'm off to our Ceredigion Liberal Democrat 'Thank You' party this evening and I will be watching as much of the final as I can squeeze in because it has all the potential to be an absolute classic!

So to get myself in the mood for this European encounter, it's the Champions League anthem...

We're used to only hearing a clip of it before or after every match on TV but here's the full 3 minute version as written by Tony Britten in 1992 and performed by the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra and sung by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. The chorus is sung in UEFA's 3 official languages - English, French and German.

It should send the shivers down the spine of any proud football fan.

Now...let the battle commence!