May 28, 2011
Barcelona wins Champions League
Lionel Messi scored his 53rd goal in all competitions this season, as Barcelona won its third Champions League crown in the last six years with a dominating 3-1 win over Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
Pedro and David Villa also scored for Barcelona, which also defeated United in the 2009 final. Barca beat Arsenal in the 2006 final and has won four European titles in its history.
Wayne Rooney scored for United, which fell short of its fourth European title. The English club was in the final for the third time in the last four seasons, but its lone win was in 2008 against Chelsea.
Barcelona was rewarded for an extended spell of possession in the 27th minute, as Andres Iniesta played a long ball through midfield to Xavi, who flicked a pass off to the right with the outside of his foot to find Pedro.
Pedro was wide open and he slotted inside the right post before United center back Nemanja Vidic could close the space, leaving goalie Edwin van der Sar no chance.
Although United struggled after a good opening few minutes, it pulled the goal back just seven minutes later when Rooney and Ryan Giggs combined to level the match. Rooney found Giggs just inside the area, and despite a hint of offside, he dropped the ball back to Rooney in space.
Rooney ran onto the ball and curled a right-footed shot past a sliding Barca fullback Dani Alves and out of the reach of goalie Victor Valdes for his first goal in three Champions League finals appearances.
Barcelona still controlled the match after Rooney's goal, and the Spanish side regained the lead nine minutes after halftime. Messi took a few dribbles in an open space outside the area and, despite being in traffic, fired a left-footed shot to the right post from 20 yards to beat Van der Sar.
Villa pushed Barcelona's cushion to two goals in the 69th minute, accepting a short pass from Sergio Busquets just outside the top of the area, where he hit a brilliant strike into the upper-right corner past a diving Van der Sar.
Barcelona controlled the majority of the match, and United failed to produce a real threat over the last 20 minutes as the Spanish champions sealed their win over the English champions.