Sunday, 29. May 2011 - 22:21 Uhr
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Barça put in a sublime performance to take their fourth European Cup by beating Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley tonight . Pedro, Messi and Villa were on target to ensure the team repeated the 1992 Wembley success.
Barça again lifted the European Cup at Wembley after a great performance whish saw the Club claim their fourth European Cup. The team repeated the success of 1992, when the Club took its first European Cup and with goals from the great trio of Messi, Villa and Pedro, they brushed aside the challenge of a competitive Manchester United to win 3-1.
The first half saw Barça dominate much more than the scoreline might suggest, with Rooney pegging back Pedro’s opener very much against the run of play. Even so, the first 10 minutes of the game recalled the 2006 final, with United coming out of the blocks the stronger, which Barça answered with some solid defending and a gradual development of their trademark possession football. Valdes showed his worth early on with a punch out when Rooney closed in on a Van der Saar clearance.
After Valdes’ intervention, Barça really began to turn on the style as Xavi, Iniesta and Messi began to combine and there was nothing that Ferguson’s much vaunted tactics could do to stop the trio as they began to put Villa and Pedro into dangerous positions.
The chances were coming thick and thin now, with Messi tiptoeing through the sluggish United defence, Villa trying his luck from the edge of the box and finally, Pedro opening the scoring with a well struck shot after receiving a killer pass from Xavi – the Spanish forward’s fifth goal in the Champions League this campaign.
Equaliser spurs Barça on
Despite the Barça domination though, a quick move between Giggs and Rooney saw the England centre forward hit home an equaliser on 34 minutes. That goal just seemed to push the Barça players to even greater control and they had a number of chances to take the lead again before the break, including a great set piece move that nearly undid the English defence.
Two great strikes
If the first half was dominated by Barça, then the second was an even more one sided affair as two great goals on 53 and 69 minutes gave Guardiola’s team a well deserved 3-1 lead. Messi hit home a wonderful strike from outside the box to culminate a lovely team move for the second goal and Villa hit a beautiful curling shot home for the third. It wasn’t just those moments of magic that were doing for United though, it was the almost total control that Barça were showing that was silencing the Manchester fans and leaving their team helpless to respond to Guardiola’s men’s domination.
Back to Wembley and back for a win!
Koeman’s brilliant free kick gave Barça their first European Cup at Wembley in 1992, but it was the collective play of Guardiola’s team that brought the trophy back this time. The win puts a fantastic end to the double winning season and it was achieved with the team’s trademark domination based on their great understanding and control of possession. Make a space in the Museum –the fourth European Cup is on its way back home! Edited By Matthew Havor
Wednesday, 27. April 2011 - 22:44 Uhr
Barça gave a footballing lesson at the Bernabeu, climaxing in two Leo Messi goals -one of which will surely go down as a classic- that put them in the driving seat for a place in the Wembley final ahead of next week’s second leg at the Nou Camp.
A special occasion like tonight’s, demanded high levels of concentration and bravery and Barça proved to have enough of both. Going into the semi –final without Iniesta, Abidal, Adriano and Bojan, the team lined up with Puyol at left back and Keita playing just in front of him, and stayed true to their style of play, dominating possession, building from the back and showing complete control: this was Guardiola’s commitment and it worked.
74% of the possession and two second half goals from Leo Messi, meant Barça took a giant step towards making next month’s Wembley final. With both Pepe and Pinto seeing red and Ramos a yellow that will mean he misses the next game, the Nou Camp is set to be the scene for the deciding game next week.
From the start, this game looked like the first meeting between the two at the Bernabeu, rather than the Cup Final, with Barça composed and in charge - claiming an astonishing 82% of possession in the first quarter of an hour, whilst Madrid failed to get their pressing in midfield underway. Mourinho was clearly happy to give up the ball and hope to hit Barça on the counter.
Pinto red card
Most of the first half was a midfield tussle with only a piece of individual skill from Villa and two efforts from Messi and Xavi creating danger in Casillas’s area. Madrid were defending in numbers and only made hesitant attacks through a series of free kicks from the left, which failed to seriously trouble Valdés, who did however, make a great double stop from Ronaldo and Ozil, in a clear offside position, just before the break. It had been a niggly first half and after a scuffle broke out in the tunnel at half time, Pinto was shown a straight red.
Pepe gets his red
Mourinho fiddled with his tactics after the break, bringing on Adebayor for Ozil to try and hold the ball up in Barça’s half, but the visitors found ever more space in midfield and began to put together their typical passing game. Then on the hour mark, Pepe lunged into Alves and was shown a straight red, as was his manager, who complained in a typical fashion to the officials at his player’s sending off. With half an hour still to go, Madrid’s resistance seemed inevitably about to crack.
Afellay proves decisive
Barça nearly opened the scoring on 67 minutes, when Villa’s shot from the left was parried out by Casillas only as far as Pedro, whose header went agonisingly close. For his troubles, Pedro suffered a nasty knock as Marcelo stamped his leg and Afellay came on to replace him. The young Dutch winger made an almost immediate impact as he out sprinted Marcello in the box and centred at the near post for Messi to turn home and complete Barça’s first objective of an away goal.
Barça were now even more on top and they were looking for a second. It was Leo Messi - who else? - who rounded off the game with a brilliant piece of individual skill, slaloming through the Madrid defence and cleverly shooting to Casillas’s right to double the score and his own personal tally for the evening -a historic, unforgettable and brilliant end to a great night for Barça in Madrid.
Edited By Matthew Havor
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Wednesday, 27. April 2011 - 22:33 Uhr
Pep Guardiola gave Jose Mourinho’s comments about him short shrift at tonight’s pre- match press conference and also insisted that Barça would go into the game at the Bernabeu: “proud to defend style of play”.
Guardiola replied to the Madrid boss’s earlier comments by declaring:“since he has chosen to to talk about me, I’ll do the same - tomorrow we’ll face each other on the pitch at 20.45. He’s won his games off the pitch and I’ll give him his personal Champions for that - just take it home and enjoy it. We can come up with plenty of examples too, but there’s no end to it, so tomorrow we are simply going to go out onto the pitch and play. I don’t want to compete with him in a press room –he’s the boss at that – a magician and I don’t want to play at making insinuations about him all the time”.
“We can’t fight his media supporters ”
Guardiola’s comments came in reply to Mourinho’s complaints about the Barça manager’s observations after the Spanish Cup final: “I’m not going to justify my comments –I simply congratulated Madrid after the final. If you think that his allegation that I always complain about the refs is true after you’ve all heard me over the last 3 years, well there’s nothing I can do. Off the pitch, against his media supporters, there’s nothing we can do to fight that”.
Guardiola’s disgust was heightened by the fact that the two worked together for four years when the Portuguese man was at Barcelona. The boss also referred to Sergio Ramos’s comments: “I saw them. It’s something his club told him to say. I’ve seen it before with Mourinho, he did it at Chelsea and now he’s doing it here”.
Confidence in the squad
Turning to the game itself, Guardiola confirmed the injury to Andres Iniesta and explained: “we hope to have him back for the second leg. It may change the way we go into the game – we’ll have to see. Maybe Madrid will finish with 10 men, but we will start with 11. I’m confident about the players we have. We are coming here proud to defend our style of play, with 12 home grown players and set to face a team in the semi finals who have 9 European Cups and seven great forwards”.
Tough tie ahead
Guardiola called the fourth successive semi final appearance of the Club: “a gift” and went on to forecast: “a very tough tie for both teams. It’ll be like the Inter game last year, the recent league game and the Cup Final. I’ve come here plenty of times and if you come to defend, they’ll destroy you. You can only dominate them by playing”. Finally, Guardiola commented: “I’ve never seen such an aggressive Madrid team”, as well as revealing: “the grass on the pitch is still long, but that’s what there is and we will go out and play on it”.
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Wednesday, 27. April 2011 - 22:02 Uhr
The rapper born William Roberts goes by the pseudonym Rick Ross, and in lyrics he claims he’s MC Hammer and drug kingpins Big Meech and Larry Hoover. Dwayne Carter is known to most civilians as Lil Wayne but claims the names Lil Tunechi, Weezy and the more formal Weezy F. Baby. Queens-bred Onika Maraj is Nicki Minaj. Her alter-egos include Roman Zolanski and Nicki Teresa. Once on "Lopez Tonight," she called herself “Rosa” (with an extended roll of the "R.")
Together at the Staples Center on Friday night, the three behind the I Am Still Music tour asserted their place at the forefront of the cartoon-rap renaissance, a progression that has occurred as hip hop’s commercial wing has increasingly divorced itself from its gritty '90s gangsta iteration. But few represent the shift more than Ross, who when confronted by his past as a corrections officer that he’d tried to keep hidden, transcended the nearly career-ending revelation by writing lyrics so absurdly fantastical they made Afrika Bambaataa’s spaced-out track “Planet Rock” seem grounded.
Indeed, you’d have to go back to the early '80s, to days of rappers in Indian headdress and bedazzled leather suits, to find anything as theatrical as Minaj, the 25-year old superstar signed to Wayne’s Young Money imprint. Emerging midway through the four-hour concert with a retinue of backup dancers, an ersatz Druid and “Gladiator” clips, Minaj’s brightly colored costume and cotton-candy-pink wig resembled a raver attempting to re-create “Babes in Toyland.”
But like the men who preceded her, Minaj proved that authenticity was irrelevant when you can rap so well. Wowing a crowd with a large contingent of counterfeit Kardashians and designer thugs in black plastic glasses, Minaj deployed tonalities and voices usually only heard in a Pixar film: a Dungeons & Dragons growl, a coquettish coo, an “Oliver Twist”-type lilt.
Playing material largely taken from her platinum debut, “Pink Friday,” Minaj stole the show, ushering in a level of theatrics and color worthy of Cirque du Soleil. She gave an audience member a lap dance. She passed out T-shirts. Her cadences oscillated like a kite in an electrical storm. Alternately performing alongside and apart from her mentor, Lil Wayne, Minaj created her own archetype: part vamp, part Barbie doll and part character from a Prince song.
Despite the crowd’s adulation for both Ross and Minaj, though, most of the love went to Wayne, who was making his first major Los Angeles appearance since being released from jail last November. Now sober, Wayne displayed admirable focus and few of the tics that plagued his pre-prison performances. There was no slurring or any ill-advised guitar solos. Instead, he impishly leaped around the stage and climbed scaffolding, backed by kaleidoscopic visuals and a full band, while unfurling tongue-twisting rhyme patterns that resembled those of a young Busta Rhymes.
As Wayne ran through mixtape tracks and those from his Carter trilogy, the near-capacity crowd filmed virtually every move on their phones. And when he brought out L.A. rapper Game to perform “My Life,” the applause levels reached NBA Championship levels. When Wayne did “All I Do Is Win,” the room convulsed like celebratory confetti was raining down.
There were missteps: an attempt to promote Young Money hopeful Lil Twist that fell flat; a vocalist singing a solo quasi-gospel number, which seemed designed as an excuse for a bathroom break. But for the most part, Wayne and company lived up to the tour’s title. They are still music. Though the obvious intent of the rapper also known as Weezy F. Baby was to reclaim the rap throne, Friday night's concert delivered something even more important: sheer entertainment.
Edited By Matthew Havor
Wednesday, 30. March 2011 - 12:53 Uhr
Barcelona midfielder Xavi has revealed that compatriot Cesc Fabregas wants to leave Arsenal and come to Camp Nou in the summer. “I would like Cesc to come to Barca and he has also said that he wants to, but Arsenal and Barcelona have to agree,” the 31-year-old told Catalan daily Sport. Xavi also touched on the two impending matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid next month, one in the Primera Division and the other in the Copa del Rey final, and said that insinuations of doping and Jose Mourinho’s criticisms only make them more competitive. “It makes us stronger,” enthused the World Cup winner. “The group is united and even if there are negative things in the environment, we have to keep working and competing. The central midfielder also had kind words for Barcelona team-mate Eric Abidal, who recently had a tumour removed from his liver and is out for the rest of the season.
The Spanish champions tried to sign the 23-year-old Spain international last year but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to budge in his insistence that Fabregas remains at the Emirates.
Barceona have continued to try to convince Arsenal to let the player leave and the Gunners themselves are ready to sell the player should an offer of €51.5 million be made, and although Blaugrana president Sandro Rosell has admitted that the club cannot pay Arsenal €50m, he is open to negotiations.
Fabregas’ team-mate in the Spain national squad, Xavi, has now disclosed that the Catalan is ready to move to Camp Nou.
“I would like Cesc to come to Barca and he has also said that he wants to, but Arsenal and Barcelona have to agree,” the 31-year-old told Catalan daily Sport.
Xavi also touched on the two impending matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid next month, one in the Primera Division and the other in the Copa del Rey final, and said that insinuations of doping and Jose Mourinho’s criticisms only make them more competitive.
“It makes us stronger,” enthused the World Cup winner. “The group is united and even if there are negative things in the environment, we have to keep working and competing.
The central midfielder also had kind words for Barcelona team-mate Eric Abidal, who recently had a tumour removed from his liver and is out for the rest of the season.
“It has been hard time for all, for him, for the team, for his family,” sighed Xavi. “Abidal was in the prime of his career. It’s a shame but we will try to overcome it.”