Over the last decade, FC Barcelona have lifted the Champions League trophy for the fourth time. The Catalan giants are the most dominant and successful team in the recent history of the tournament.
It couldn’t have been a better start for Luis Enrique’s career at the helm of Barca. The former Barcelona player attained a lot of success in his playing days and alike Guardiola his managerial stint has started in a glorious way. Juve boss, Massimiliano Allegri, also had an opportunity to earn this honor in his debut season with the Italian champions but his team couldn’t cope with the attacking prowess of the Barcelona front three.
The Champions League final in Berlin ended 3 – 1 with goals from Suarez, Neymar, Rakitic and Juventus’s Morata. The Blaugrana giants broke the deadlock as early as the 4th minute when Rakitic squared the ball past Buffon. The Old Lady equalized in the 55th minute through the former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata. Luis Suarez netted a tap-in 13 minutes later to put Barca on the front foot again. The last few minutes very nervy for Camp Nou faithful before Neymar’s 90th minute strike which ensured their treble.
It has been a dream season Luis Suarez, who didn’t even feature in the last few Champions League tournaments. The Uruguayan carried Liverpool on his shoulders last season and earned them the berth for Champions League qualification and this season his hard work has paid off. The 28-year-old also managed to stay from any controversy despite coming face to face with his old nemesis Patrice Evra. It was also the first Champions League win for the Brazilian skipper, Neymar. The 23-year-old is now among a select few players to win both Copa Libertadores and Champions League.
It was Juventus’s sixth loss in a Champions League final. A team of Juve’s stature wouldn’t want to have such a record. Patrice Evra has featured in five Champions League finals with Monaco, Manchester United and Juventus but the Frenchman has won only one occasion.
It was a sad night for Andrea Pirlo and his numerous fans around the world. The Italian midfield maestro was in tears after the loss as it was his last match in the competition. The outgoing skipper of Barcelona, Xavi will to the Qatari club Al-Sadd after winning 24 major silverwares with his boyhood club. Many aspiring players can only dream to have such illustrious careers as Pirlo and Xavi.
Andres Iniesta yet again proved that he is one of the best big match players in the world. The Spaniard was named the ‘Man of the Match’ despite his time on the pitch was cut short because of substitution. After scoring a goal in the final, Neymar tied with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the top scorer award in Europe.
In the European competition, Barcelona are now tied with the five-time European champions, Liverpool and Bayern Munich and are only behind AC Milan (7) and Real Madrid (10).
Luis Enrique is set to continue as Barcelona’s manager after guiding the club to a treble in his debut season, according to the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, who also admitted the club are “closely monitoring” the Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.
Speaking to Catalunya Radio, Bartomeu said: “I have no doubt regarding Luis Enrique’s continuity. He is under contract and has done a magnificent job.
“I don’t see any impediments for him to continue in a team who have started a winning cycle. I see him as being very enthusiastic. If I am re-elected as president, one of the things I will do is offer Luis Enrique a contract extension.”
The 45-year-old head coach had cast doubt on his future, saying his position at the club would be discussed following Saturday’s Champions League final against Juventus. Victory for the Catalan club completed a treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League, despite difficulties earlier in the season which led to the coach being placed under pressure after a defeat to Real Sociedad in which he opted to rest Lionel Messi and Neymar.
Following that result, Bartomeu had called for presidential elections this summerto relieve “the tension Barça is going through”, but the outstanding end to the season, in which Barça beat Real Madrid to the La Liga title by two points, has seemingly made Luis Enrique’s position secure.
As Bartomeu told Sport: “There is no reason to break our contract with Enrique after he earned full marks for this season.”
Meanwhile, on Pogba, the club president said: “Pogba is an iconic player at Juventus and has a contract there – we have not tried to sign him but we are closely monitoring his progress.”