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Now that was a game!

Comments (79)

Out-classed, out-played and out-gunned!!!... Who? Man Utd ? that's who!

Barca where out of this world tonight, for 85 mins of the game Man Utd were doing little more than chasing shadows and made to look 2nd Class on every inch of the the pitch!

At times, some of Man Utd's players looked little more than rabbits caught in the headlights of an on-coming lorry doing 90 mph... There was only ever going to be 1 winner and it was not the rabbit!

Simon Smith, Cambridgeshire     Posted 28/05/2011 at 22:57:03

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Trevor Lynes
1   Posted 28/05/2011 at 23:50:37

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Barcelona must spend all their training time on learning ball control and accurate passing. By average standards they are a pretty small side but they are pure football and it's a shame that NONE of our teams apart from Arsenal have anywhere near their ability... but they all work for each other and know how to defend. I have never seen a Man Utd team so mesmerised and outclassed which shows to me that we need a radical change from our coaching techniques. Football SHOULD be entertaining and Barca really do entertain.

I give Man Utd credit for not trying to kick Messi and Co out of the game... but I am sure that the referee in charge would soon have put a stop to those tactics.
I watch EFC and despair at the lack of basic control, even though we finished 7th, when it's compared to the wizardry of Barcelona... it's like we are playing a different game altogether.

A fantastic game to watch and an example of football played at the highest level by a team of average-sized players who outclassed the English Champions. Rooney was the only real bright spark in the Man Utd side.

Russell Buckley
2   Posted 29/05/2011 at 00:08:02

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Just imagine how that game would have gone if we were in Man Utd's shoes.

I'll let you decide how that finishes
Brendan O'Doherty
3   Posted 29/05/2011 at 00:41:45

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I am utterly speechless after watching that. It was an absolute masterclass on how to play the game, orchestrated by the greatest player of this generation and maybe of all time.

The understanding and appreciation for each other should not be overlooked either, epitomised when they let Abidal be the one to lift the trophy, in recognition of his comeback from a life threatening illness.

Lost for words, except to say that there is no disgrace in losing to them.
Adam Bennett
4   Posted 29/05/2011 at 00:44:04

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Barcelona are on a completely different planet to all other teams in the World.

I remember my Grandfather telling me tales of the Real Madrid team of the 1950s.

I remember my Father telling me about the Brazil World Cup winning team of 1970.

In many many years to come, I can see myself sitting down with my Grandson and being asked "Grandad, what's the best team you have ever seen?'" and my reply will be "The Barcelona team that had Messi, Xavi and Iniesta."

This Barcelona team is as close to perfect football as you can possibly get. That's if they're not perfect as it is!
Phil Bellis
5   Posted 29/05/2011 at 00:51:49

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There you go, Rooney... what you watched tonight was world class ? the kind of player I once thought you were going to be.

Bitter? twisted? you bet.

I think the Everton `85 team would've given them a game... `til we went down to 7 men after 11 minutes.

Chris Cook
6   Posted 29/05/2011 at 01:40:34

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Dunno why the happiness... that's £2.5M bonus from the Rooney deal less to use on players.... errr... I mean bank loans.
Chad Schofield
7   Posted 29/05/2011 at 01:48:30

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Truly the beautiful game played majestically.

There was a spell of about 5 minutes when they took the piss more than the other 85 minutes of pure dominance ? little back heels etc... just simply sublime! The scariest thing is that Messi is only 23!!!
David Barks
8   Posted 29/05/2011 at 02:16:42

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Having a go at Rooney after that game, Phil? Rooney was United's single bright spot, scoring the goal to equalize until his defense just couldn't cope any more. What, was Rooney supposed to do? Go end to end all on his own and score four goals? Did I miss something where he somehow gave away goals and spurned opportunities to win the game?

What I would love to see is Rooney playing with Ronaldo again in a Real Madrid uniform under Mourinho and see how that goes in Spain. Being able to actually play the game and not have the likes of Wolves or Blackburn or Stoke kick your ankles every time you're on the ball. The funny thing is, Rooney knew this early in the season but was talked into staying by money and promises of squad building.

My prediction: Rooney goes to Real in one year and wins European Footballer of the Year.

Derek Thomas
9   Posted 29/05/2011 at 02:16:25

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Shocking when you think about where it puts us in the overall scheme of things.

United at Wembley were pretty much in the same class we were at Old Trafford. Scary.

This is what happens to even good teams if you don't improve players at the top of their game before they go past their peak.

United have 3 players who either are will or should retire: Van der Sar, Giggs, Scholes.

Their bench, while streets ahead of ours, was not the sort to have Barca quaking in their boots.

I suppose it's all relative really. Poor Plan A; no Plan B... Moyes would fit right in.

Taxi for SAF!
David Barks
10   Posted 29/05/2011 at 02:24:52

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Having said all that, I forgot to say how amazing it was to watch Barcelona play that game. The most talented team in the world who love to play the game. Amazing to watch.
Roberto Birquet
11   Posted 29/05/2011 at 03:02:43

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Chris Cook
We've triggered every single add-on for Rooney except the sell-on clause. No more money coming.

United were never gonna beat Barca (fortunately for trophy-winning fun, they've always been my second team).

If you wanna see a master class you need to watch the Barca 5-0 demolition of Madrid back in October.

Visca el Barca.
Tony McNulty
12   Posted 29/05/2011 at 04:56:20

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By the end, Ol' Whisky Nose looked to have aged about ten years. He was impotent.

Those of us with longer memories know that the wheel eventually turns. For the Manure it has been as good as it's ever going to get. Ferguson will stay too long, and end up leaving the club in decline. And we'll then see how well the "financial model" works once they fail to qualify for CL, and the debt chickens come home to roost.

I for one cannot wait. Oh yes, and Barcelona played some fabulous stuff.
Garry Martin
13   Posted 29/05/2011 at 06:04:40

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I'm sorry but, apart from the goal, what else did fat arse Rooney do? Great players can create; I didn't see much of that last night. I watched Barcelona players running & chasing everything for a full 90 minutes... Rooney who?
Paul Rimmer
14   Posted 29/05/2011 at 06:26:20

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Barca dominated midfield. Ferdinand and Vidic were lost as they had no-one to mark. Barca have changed the way football is played at the highest level. Man Utd's 4-4-2 was wrong.
Hugh Jorgan
15   Posted 29/05/2011 at 07:03:56

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Garry Martin #12

What game were you watching. Rooney was oustanding, playing both sides of the field and seemed to be the only MU player who wanted to win or had the ability to match Barca.
Keith Skidmore
16   Posted 29/05/2011 at 08:21:26

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I was watching Messi as closely as I could sat on me couch and the guy was like a meerkat. He was constantly moving, looking, building a mental picture of the pitch and players around him, involved in every Barca passage of play. Constantly wanting the ball, even when wearing an opponent like a backpack!  

I haven't seen enough Barca games to make an informed opinion on Messi, wether he only "turns up" for the BIG games (à la some of our players... insert name here!) but, if the guy plays like that against every team who have the pleasure to share the same pitch as him, then he is truly the greatest technically... naturally gifted player I have EVER seen. 

It is a team game and they have many other outstanding players who play their part and deserve as much of the praise, I'm just glad they turned up to play "the beautiful game" and not the cynical, diving, cheating, win-at-all-costs game that they are also capable of. 

They have a midfield/forward line of creativity and flair that many managers have tried to push out of the game in favour of power and "box-to-box" enforcer types. A team full of Stevie G'las couldn't have touch them last night!

Derek Thomas
17   Posted 29/05/2011 at 08:18:37

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Yes, Rooney was the stand-out player for United.

And I must admit to a little smile and a nod of appreciation to the local lad for his tireless efforts all over the pitch and for popping one in.

Oh and yes, did any one notice the amount of Jags and Howard type hoofball from the back... EPL, best league in the world, my arse.

He was on his own, where as Barca had a minimum of 3 game breakers.

As stated above, United have peaked (I hope) and, unless big money is well spent, will go into decline and yes SAF has and will stay too long. They always do.

We are having our own wankfest / Nick Entwhistle moment, in taking delight in mis-fortune of others.

Love it.
James Martin
18   Posted 29/05/2011 at 08:28:10

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Ferguson had it right when he said Barcelona were at a tremendous peak in the cycle of their team. They have (through amazing youth development) got a collaboration of players who are just the best in their positions in the world. A Chelsea or Inter may be able to snuff them out once if they play badly but no team will ever go toe to toe with them.

The scay thing is you could assemble the rest of the world's best players in a team (like Real Madrid have attempted) and still come nowhere near them because, at that level, there's the very best and then those who are second best. You could not assemble a midfield three out of currently known players to challenge Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta.

A team like Man Utd would have to take the plunge and develop up a new crop of finely selected precocious players and bide their time. Unfortunately, the rewards for staying in the system mean that no team could afford to do this under this risk they'd miss out on the cash cartel one year. The real scary thing is Messi is 23; Busquets 22; Pedro 21/22; Iniesta 26; Piqué still young...

Norman Merrill
19   Posted 29/05/2011 at 08:59:05

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Russell #1.

My thoughts entirely.

Gareth Humphreys
20   Posted 29/05/2011 at 08:56:46

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I detest Barcelona and all their smug sanctimonious supporters. More than a club? Not really ? just a club that is nowhere near as successful as their bigger rivals from Madrid.
Duncan McDine
21   Posted 29/05/2011 at 08:59:26

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The best team I've ever seen, and the best player in the world since Maradona. I'm only 31 so can't make a judgement on Pele and Brazil 1970, but they are very special, and will surely dominate European football for the next 5 years or more.

I've seen plenty of the little man, and of Barca over the last 3 years, and what's scary is the level of performance, desire, skill, team spirit and unselfishness in every single match. Xavi and Iniesta are the best midfield duo I can remember seing, and Villa is arguably the world's best finisher.

Matthew Lovekin
22   Posted 29/05/2011 at 08:56:50

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I've been following Barca closely for the last few seasons as well as them being my favourite 'foreign' team after Lineker went there.

The amazing thing about them is they just don't win trophies, they just don't play amazing football, they just don't work hard, but they have changed the way football is played. They regularly batter teams with 65%-85% possession, you simply can't get the ball off them, and when you do, they chase you down like a pack of crazed dogs.

Messi is simply the best player in the world, best player ever... not yet as he is only 23 and hasn't performed well at a World Cup yet. However, the masterclass behind Barca's success is their midfield, notably Xavi and Iniesta. You can stop a great forward by cutting off their supply line, similar to what Barca did to Ronaldo when he was at Utd and now Real Madrid, but trying to cut the supply line to a midfielder is almost impossible.

Barca also play in small close-knit triangles which makes the passing less risky. Often Xavi picks the ball up from the defence (whether it's Valdes, Pique or Alves), plays it to Iniesta who is slightly ahead who in turn plays it to Messi who is dropping deep off the forwards.

If you take Messi out of the Barca team, what do you have? Practically the Spain national side, a team that won the 2008 Euros and 2010 World Cup, therefore still a very good side without Messi! Messi is simply a very good cog in an excellent team but it's Xavi and Iniesta together that really make Barca tick.

Those three players are probably the three best players in the world, at least three of the top four with Ronaldo, then add to that the one man defence that is Pique, the surging quality of Dani Alves on the right-wing, another pass master and destroyer Busquets holding the midfield together, the pace of Pedro and goal-poaching instincts of Villa and you have an incredible team.

Seven of the starting XI came through the Barca youth team which proves it doesn't cost a lot of money to build a team and with captain Puyol not fully fit to start would have made it 72% of their starting team coming through their academy! Another four players on the bench that didn't come on came through the Barca ranks, makes them a good team to follow and want to win.
Mitchell Wilton
23   Posted 29/05/2011 at 09:26:13

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Utd's midfield was AWOL.

Carrick, I missed the first 5 mins and it took me to Rooney's goal to notice he was on the field.

Park JS running around like Mad Dog Gravesen ? all brute intent but no reward for the hack style of play.

Valencia, not sure how he managed to avoid that yellow card till the last 20 mins. Checking Messi is not tackling or defending, keep it in ice hockey.

Giggs, only sparked up in the final 10 mins. Simply past it.

I wish to echo the sentiments above that Rooney (and Evra to an extent) were the only ones who left that game with some credibility.
Matthew Lovekin
24   Posted 29/05/2011 at 09:25:59

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That was not Barca's best performance last night! People should watch them regularly, it was a normal Barca performance.

As someone mentioned earlier, watch the 5-0 win over Real Madrid in October. That's the best performance I have ever seen, by any team, anywhere.
Paul Knox
25   Posted 29/05/2011 at 09:24:01

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Not quite the same but the youngsters we have coming up gives me hope. May not be Barca's standard but will take our breath away at times.

We just need a manager good enough for them. Moyes's coaches and scouts have done well; now to take them to the next level and put them in the first team squad.

And new team plans for next season: start with attack in mind (not when we go behind) and no favourites ? only form and tactics.

But, "Can you teach a old dog new tricks"??? Hope Moyes watched the game and has taken inspiration from it! (I for one doubt it.)

Kunal Desai
26   Posted 29/05/2011 at 10:07:51

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They are the epitome of football. Every single characteristic about there football is flawless. Forget the 70s and 80s of Brazil ? these lot are just pure footballing geniuses (without the antics of course).

"You have to understand that Barcelona is a nation without a state, and Barça is its army." Sir Bobby Robson ? LEGEND!
Iain Love
27   Posted 29/05/2011 at 09:58:11

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A couple of points from the game:
  • Valdes passed the ball out; Van the man kicked it out, that maintains possession.
  • I don't know what the average passing distance was but Barca passed it much much shorter maintaining accuracy and possession.
  • Around the 80th min, Villa blocked off Giggs in Barca's box, Villa!!!! He knew that if there was a Barca counter-attack, it would be passed forward not lumped, giving him time to join in the play and be there on the end of it.
  • I played my football as a defender and always hated opposition players passing the ball around as that didn't give me a chance to tackle them and regain possession.
So fuckin simple... pass and move, keep the ball, and work hard ? something Manure didn't do.
Kunal Desai
28   Posted 29/05/2011 at 10:13:59

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#23 -Matthew. Mate I couldn't agree more with you. I think Barca's overall possession in that game was something like 70% against one of the best teams in club football and against one of the best managers. It was breathtaking ? and one of the best matches I've ever seen, too.
Robert Johnson
29   Posted 29/05/2011 at 10:26:33

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I've just read Barcelona have made Anichobe their Number One target...
Matt Bone
30   Posted 29/05/2011 at 10:52:59

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#28 - Robert, you had 'em worried. For a minute there I thought we were about to lose our number one striker then I re-read your post and realised Anichebe is staying afterall.

Anichobe's club must be a little worried but still maybe, like us they could do with the money.
Rob Murphy
31   Posted 29/05/2011 at 10:51:07

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Bullshit, Gareth. Barca is a club run by its supporters, isn't that what we'd all like at Everton instead of some soulless corporate entity (eg, Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City) that is hellbent on ruining the game we all love with their business models etc. Local lads, playing with their friends, winning the biggest prize in club football, playing football at it's purest ? doesn't get better than that mate. Class & Dignity.
Trevor Mackie
32   Posted 29/05/2011 at 11:02:37

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Real Madrid, Ajax, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and internationally Brazil, now add Barcelona.

The lesson is the truly, truly great sides are based upon skill ? there are fallow periods in the game when lesser teams win major honours but thank god eventually someone somewhere goes back to the fundamentals and we get what we witnessed last night.

England will never have a team to join those names because we play a game based upon physical prowess egged on by crass claims of "the best league in the world" ? nonsense.

Rooney: watch Barca's second goal again ? it starts with a simple short pass mis controlled by England's great white hope on the half way line. He may well have growled and run around a bit more than the others but technically he isn't in the same class.
James Boden
33   Posted 29/05/2011 at 11:59:35

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Barcelona played football that was truly sublime and deserve their rightful place amongst the finest teams in footballing history.

Messi also showcased why he is not only the finest footballer on the planet by a comfortable margin but also that he is not far behind the great Diego Maradona who still holds the title of 'the greatest ever'.

On a side note, it was about time Rooney scored in a European Final although he was the only United player who looked like doing anything. As for the person who said Evra left with some credibility, I can only assume they were well and truly bevvied because Evra got shown up time and time again much like he does whenever he plays against a good opponent. In short, words fail me how that bloke plays for Manchester United.

But nevermind United ? let's just enjoy watching what is unquestionably rivetting stuff.
Dennis Stevens
34   Posted 29/05/2011 at 12:08:27

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"... the great Diego Maradona who still holds the title of 'the greatest ever'."?? You've obviously never heard of Robin Friday!
Dennis Stevens
35   Posted 29/05/2011 at 12:26:19

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Oh yeah, thanks for the link Roberto ? just superb!
Ian Tunstead
36   Posted 29/05/2011 at 13:01:12

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I hope the game puts the whole ?Moyes's tactics were wrong? argument to bed. The moral of the story is that the best team with the best 11 players on the field will win 9 times out of 10, and the best teams have those players either because they have spent a fortune or because they are lucky enough to have a great academy with talented youth players coming through consistently. There was nothing SAF or any other manager could have done to beat them unless he caught them on an off-day.

As for the greatest ever, although I doubt any of us saw him play, Dixie Dean's goalsscoring record proves he was better than the little Argentine.
James Boden
37   Posted 29/05/2011 at 13:18:17

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Dennis Stevens, I presume you were joking because although Robin Friday may have been named 'the greatest footballer you never saw' the history books prove just that. Starring for Reading and Cardiff City does not suggest greatness.

On a more serious note, Dixie Dean holds a goalscoring record comparable with anyone in the world and by a comfortable margin possesses best goals-to-games average in English top flight. However, as much as we cherish him for what he did for our football club, and no question he was iconic for the countless times he put the ball in the onion bag, the fact is Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona have, on a regular basis, scored goals by running rings round players.
Phil Bellis
38   Posted 29/05/2011 at 13:19:56

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David @7 ? Get a room! Ferguson did well getting him signed up again as, if and when, as you suggest, he pisses off to Spain, Utd will get their money back.

I couldn't lose last night ? Rooney gets a runners-up medal to show to all his Scouse fans(!) ... or the kopites bitch and panic as Utd get close to another record.

Great player for Utd but best player in the world? He's not improved that much since he went ? not even the best player in Manchester.

David Mathieson
39   Posted 29/05/2011 at 13:26:00

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How many Scousers (born in Liverpool) have scored in the European Cup Final? I can think of two: Rooney last night & McManaman.
Ian Tunstead
40   Posted 29/05/2011 at 13:26:09

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James, the game is about putting the ball in the onion bag more than the opposition and winning games. Whether that be by running rings around players or heading the ball into the goal. Dean was better at it than Maradona and Messi, and that is the fact that matters the most.
Garry Martin
41   Posted 29/05/2011 at 13:32:27

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Hugh Jorgan - 14 .... I think you must have seen a different match to me mate. Good players win games i.e. Mezzi etc. From what I seen, fat arse Rooney was left wanting, however, did a good job of giving the ball away a few times. Wouldn't put him anywhere near the Barcelona skills. Manure must be sorry they gave him a new contract..... on how much? £220k plus per week... mugs.
James Boden
42   Posted 29/05/2011 at 13:47:16

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Ian, I am not disputing that and don't get me wrong ? I would never ever value Maradona, Messi or anyone else more highly than Dixie Dean whom it could even be argued was better than Pele. As an all-round forward Dean was as great as they come and an absolute goal machine.

However, there is a difference to tapping the ball in or heading like a rocket like Dean did and scoring by running half the pitch. Dean unfortunately, due to circumstances of which are not his own fault did not play in either a World Cup or European Cup, and so could not showcase his talents.

To me Maradona put on the finest performance of any player in the history of the World Cup back in 86 and also, let's face facts, would you know who Napoli were if Maradona did not play for them? That is the point I am trying to make that great goalscorers don't always make great footballers ? perhaps never better testified than Gary Lineker.

Dennis Stevens
43   Posted 29/05/2011 at 14:26:40

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James, not only do you insult the memory of the late great Robin Friday & even greater W R Dean, based primarily it would seem on the fact that one didn't play in the top flight & the other didn't perform at a World Cup, but you do so to display your admiration of a cheat.

They say that opinions are like arseholes ? everybody's got one & everybody elses stinks. Nonetheless, I admire your willingness to express your so emphatically with no concern for the damage you do to your credibility.

More seriously, Ian, I'm astonished that your response to last night's match is to use it as a means to defend Moyes from criticism that is often, though not always, quite justified.

James Boden
44   Posted 29/05/2011 at 15:00:01

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Dennis, I assumed calling Robin Friday the greatest footballer ever was merely a joke. You see, while no doubt he was a cult hero, the fact is he did not play in the top league in our country and so that alone should count against him in my opinion.

I do not admire Maradona on a personal level, merely the fact that I can acknowledge his ability to play football better than any person in history ? that is my opinion. For you to denigrate my opinion because I believe that this dislikeable human being is the greatest in football's history is being rather trivial, do you not think Ian?

I have no doubt in my mind that William Ralph Dean is Everton's most iconic player and I love him much more than El Diego. However, heroes don't always mean greatness. That is just my opinion and if it knocks my credibility then I for one will learn to live with that.

Trevor Mackie
45   Posted 29/05/2011 at 15:22:04

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Never heard of Robin Friday so just checked him out apparently Jimmy Armfield compares him to Alan Shearer.

As Shearer is in my list of "massively overrated" I don't think further investigation is necessary.
Dennis Stevens
46   Posted 29/05/2011 at 15:10:18

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James, I apologise for being a little facetious ? Maradona is obviously one of the greatest footballing talents the world has produced. If you see him as the greatest ever, that's just fine; for me he's one of the greatest players ever & I've never bothered to put that elite group in any particular order.

As for Robin Friday, it's true he didn't play in the top flight, however, as an indicator of his talent our old friend Clive Thomas after refereeing a Friday-inspired Reading demolition of Tranmere Rovers said of one particular goal: "Even up against the likes of Pele & Cruyff, it still rates as the best goal I have ever seen. I'll never forget it." So he must have had something about him.
Ian Tunstead
47   Posted 29/05/2011 at 15:24:25

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Dennis, I understand that it looks like I have used last night?s game as a means to defend Moyes from criticism but that was not my real intention. It is more to do with my gripe with people who use poor tactics as a means to criticise Moyes or any manager for that matter.

Tactics are overrated in my opinion, I constantly argue with a friend of mine who is a Liverpool fan who believes that their improvement on the field in recent months is because Dalglish?s tactics are better the Hodgson's which is bollocks in my eyes. LFC fans were against Hodgson from Day 1 which was transmitted to the players. This had a negative influence on the players and the club as a whole resulting in underperformance. Dalgish came in and had instant backing from the fans which got the response required from the players.

The point I was trying to make was, more often than not, it is good players that win games, not tactics which is why there was nothing Ferguson or any other team could do to Barcelona while in that kind of form.

Gary Lawler
48   Posted 29/05/2011 at 15:42:44

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I am a minority or are there others who are appalled by our near neighbours' lack of respect and class, on a day that every red should hold their head in shame in recognition at the sad loss of 39 lives lost in a tragedy that was caused for no other reason than wanting to have a scrap with a bunch of Italians.

Alas this is not to be the case as all I can see and hear are people associated with that rabble in a state of euphoria that ManUtd have been beaten by Barca. I am alone in being embarrassed by there lack of humility?

Dennis Stevens
49   Posted 29/05/2011 at 15:45:49

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Trevor, I'm not sure where you got that one from. You do know that his manager at Cardiff City, Jimmy Andrews, when asked about Friday some years later, when Shearer was the big mony transfer in the news at the time, said that if Shearer was worth £15 million then Friday would be worth as much, but for his temperament, of course. So I think it was less to do with style of play & in another era the comparison value-wise would be with the top striker of the day, be it Rooney, Drogba etc.
James Boden
50   Posted 29/05/2011 at 15:49:52

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Dennis, I can accept your apology. In regards to Robin Friday, while the said goal may have been a thing of beauty, it seems clear he lacked consistency. Bear in mind, back in those days, television coverage was nowhere near what it is now so you couldn't watch players in Divisions 2 or 3 etc.

Trevor Mackie, I disgaree with your assessment that 'Mary Poppins' ? otherwise known as Alan Shearer ? is over-rated but then it is a matter of opinions.

Gary Lawler, at this point you shouldn't expect anything else from our loveable neighbours who deliberately choose to forget 'The horrors of Heysel' and pretend they didn't occur. While I personally am not overly fond of United, at least that Football Club has achieved its success through playing breathtaking football and not the 'stiffle the shite out of the opposition' tactics. Liverpool will always have that jealous side to them because, despite how many Titles and European Cups they won, they could never play football in a manner which was attractive to the public in the way which United did in the 60s and abroad with Ajax, Real Madrid, Benfica and to a lesser extent Bayern Munich.
Dennis Stevens
51   Posted 29/05/2011 at 15:53:57

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Ian, I see what you mean. Tactics are not the be-all & end-all but they are a factor & it is an area where Moyes is sometimes open to criticism ? my own particular gripe being the match versus Sporting Lisbon (away) which I think he completely cocked up. Certainly good players can fail if not playing to their advantages so tactics do have their place.

However, as with most things, football is complicated & it's no more accurate to say we would be champions if we changed one particular thing, whether it be players or tactics or pre-season training, etc.

Re RS, you're quite right Hodgson was doomed to fail as there was no support for his appointment from Day One. Dalglish has sensibly brought good people in with him.

Dennis Stevens
52   Posted 29/05/2011 at 16:04:18

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James, thanks for your gracious acceptance of my apology.

Re Robin Friday's lack of consistency, I'm not too sure what you base that on. Friday seems to have been a fairly consistent scorer & provider of goals ? unfortunately he was also fairly consistently falling foul of the officials & combined all this on-field with an off-field "rock-star" lifestyle that lead to his prematurely giving up the game & ultimately contributed to an early death. Unfortunately, not the first nor the last flawed genius in this beautiful game.

Gareth Humphreys
53   Posted 29/05/2011 at 16:53:07

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Rob Murphy ? soundbites and horsehit. Everton is also run by its fans allegedly. What's the difference? Class & Dignity my arse. They are just like every other team in Spain ? in the shadows of Real Madrid overall.

I can't stand this fawning over them.They fucked Unicef off for a big fat cheque from the Middle East ? how classy.

Jalil Noor
54   Posted 29/05/2011 at 16:50:52

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The legacy of Cruyff.
Jalil Noor
55   Posted 29/05/2011 at 17:03:56

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Out of context but here are some quotes from Cruyff ...

Some are totally hilarious but some kinda makes sense...
Steve Pugh
56   Posted 29/05/2011 at 17:42:08

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As mentioned by the commentators, one of the things Barcelona are very good at is diving when they lose the ball so that they regain possession in the form of a free kick. Without this they can't play their possession football.

They are all really good footballers, why do they need to cheat? I'd also like to see them play 20 years ago against the likes of Psycho, Reidy et al whose normal response to little fairies rolling around on the grass was to give them a reason to roll around.
Dennis Stevens
57   Posted 29/05/2011 at 17:56:42

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All part of turning football into a non-contact sport, Steve.
Steve Pugh
58   Posted 29/05/2011 at 18:21:34

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If it carries on, you won't be able to tell the difference between the men's and women's game.
Dennis Stevens
59   Posted 29/05/2011 at 19:18:36

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Big Girls v Big Girls Blouses!
Trevor Lynes
60   Posted 29/05/2011 at 19:31:04

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I think Tommy Smith also scored in a European Cup Final.
Trevor Mackie
61   Posted 29/05/2011 at 19:29:25

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"Diving?" ? grasping at straws gentlemen.
Gavin Ramejkis
62   Posted 29/05/2011 at 20:02:14

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David #8, Shrek won't win European Player of the Year as he simply isn't good enough. Put him out to Real Madrid and Ronaldo will still score more goals as he did at Man U. He's 2 years older than Messi, he's only 7 months younger than Ronaldo, he's 2 years older than Pedro. At the drop of a hat there's a few players better than him already.

A very one-sided game with a very classy display of short, measured, quick, decisive passing and well taken goals. You can't score goals if you don't have the ball, Barcelona are a pretty special team right now and with the age of their players they will continue to be for a good few years. The game last night was a brilliant advertisement for the game and how it can be played.
Ed Fitzgerald
63   Posted 29/05/2011 at 21:01:54

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Sorry to upset you but a certain Tommy Smith scored in the 77 European Cup Final. A knobhead, a red but a scouser.
Ed Fitzgerald
64   Posted 29/05/2011 at 21:11:49

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Just remembered Terry McDermott scored as well in the 77 final.
Roberto Birquet
65   Posted 29/05/2011 at 20:59:08

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Gareth Humphreys

Yer just gonna have to accept, you're in a minority of about one in dissing this superb Barca team.

And they came out of Madrid's shadow once the Spanish dictatorship was no longer its patron. For some 20 years Barca has more often been the great team of Spain (apart from a few galactico years). And it has often been with home grown players.

Their football is as great as the Dutch of the early 70s ? a link forged by Cruyff.

ps, Madrid fans cannot be beaten for arrogance.
Nathan Ward
66   Posted 29/05/2011 at 22:23:51

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Can't believe after last night people are actually having a dig at Barca.

The horrible diving in the semis was a direct result of Madrid's bullyboy tactics in the league game, where they kicked and booted a Barca player every time they moved.

As for binning Unicef in a classy way, Barca PAID them money to boost their profile. Given the economic situation, Barca want to increase funds and took a world record amount for sponsorship.
Den King
67   Posted 30/05/2011 at 00:22:13

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Well said, Nathan & Roberto. Churlish, Gareth & Steve!

I cannot believe that someone could watch that game and not be impressed by that team's skills, entertainment, sheer joy, speed, endeavour and effectiveness.

Two stats jumped out at me: Barcelona made 777 passes (more than double MU's) and they committed 5 fouls (to 17) in a superbly flowing game. SAF 's mistake was not to use Jose's spoiling tactics, which seem to be the only way to stop them.

Also, ?10 million has been given to UNICEF as part of the deal + the publicity value.

I wish we could begin to emulate them.

Garry Martin
68   Posted 30/05/2011 at 07:26:47

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Just a thought on why Barcelona played so well last night & appealed to the majority of viewers. They go out with the intention of playing pure football, by this I mean:?



As they say "simples"

James Flynn
69   Posted 30/05/2011 at 07:27:44

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Rooney played well. Barca was more talented and proved it. Nothing more or less.
Paul Joy
70   Posted 30/05/2011 at 09:19:40

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Bily can trap it further than the Barca players kick it!!!
Derek Thomas
71   Posted 30/05/2011 at 10:27:45

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Peter Withe
Ray Roche
72   Posted 30/05/2011 at 16:17:54

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Garry Martin.

You say "They go out with the intention of playing pure football, by this I mean:?

You evidently didn't see them against Real Madrid in the semi-final. Here are some comments from the media after THAT load of rubbish.

"The first leg of the semi-final was an example of everything that people hate about soccer. Barcelona players crowding the referee on several occasions to influence his decision. Players exaggerating contact. Off the pitch pushing and shoving. This is not what soccer is about. This was anti-soccer."

"Barcelona was guilty of negativity too. Their play acting was despicable. So too was the way they unnecessarily encircled the referee. And Barcelona committed more fouls than Real Madrid in this one".

Barcelona's conduct in the semi was little short of a disgrace to football. Even though they are capable of sublime football, they can and did play a spoiling, cheating game. If the RS had performed like that, we'd have slagged them off till the cows come home, and quite rightly too.

James Boden
73   Posted 30/05/2011 at 16:48:57

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Dennis Stevens ? continuing the debate on Robin Friday: although talented let's not forget that many showmen, like Rodney Marsh, Stan Bowles and Frank Worthington, all starred in the First Division and to a degree of success it has to be said. Although, to be fair to the three I mentioned, their lifestyles were not quite the high life which Robin Friday lived... perhaps not too dissimilar to Wayne from Auf Wiedershen Pet ? otherwise known as The Late Gary Holton.

As for Judas (am I still allowed to call him that?) he is still on his day one of the finest footballers on the planet ? albeit nowhere near the level of Lionel Messi.
Dennis Stevens
74   Posted 30/05/2011 at 18:20:51

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Indeed, James, 0I remember them well. Those mavericks certainly added a bit of magic to the game ? a lot of flair & individuality seems to be coached out of players now.

I'm not too sure what point you're trying to make as regards the players you mention having played in the top flight & Friday didn't. However, you should bear in mind that Friday joined Reading mid-season 1974 & over the next two seasons was instrumental in them gaining promotion to Division 3. Part way through the 76-77 season he was transferred to Cardiff City in Division 2 but early the following season he quit the professional game for good having moved up the divisions from the 4th to the 2nd in his 3 & a bit seasons in the league before becoming disenchanted with the professional game.

In contrast, the players you mention all had rather longer careers & all also spent a few seasons outside the top flight. I think your mention of Gary Holton is spot on.

Garry Martin
75   Posted 30/05/2011 at 19:40:50

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Ray Roche (72) ? Yes, Ray, you're correct; however, the point I'm making is that, when a team goes out to play pure football, it can be magical to watch & produce a spectacle to remember. I know Barcelona are capable of being a negative side, but hey, imagine watching football like that every week... mind boggling!!
Ray Roche
76   Posted 30/05/2011 at 22:12:19

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Yes, I'd love to watch a team with Barca's ability, but only if they'd drop all the cheating... That, and the money, is about the worst thing about moderrn football.
Garry Martin
77   Posted 31/05/2011 at 07:38:31

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Ray Roche 76 - Agree, money has taken alot out of football, some players are simply mercenaries that, ply there trade to the highest bidder. Believe football is due a big fall soon.

Many supporters have turned there back on football due to the silly amounts of money being brandished on players.
Ray Roche
78   Posted 31/05/2011 at 08:55:22

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Garry, just to emphasize that feeling regarding money, the two headlines on Toffeeweb are "Ba wants too much money" and "Yakubu wants too much money" . Nothing more to add.
James Marshall
79   Posted 31/05/2011 at 15:03:14

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Best team I've ever seen in 30 years of watching football. If anyone knows of a better one, please let me know.

Hungary in the 50's, Holland in the 70's, Brazil 70's all great teams but I'd go so far as to say none of them would match this Barca side. Club or country I really can't imagine a better team has ever existed.

I reckon they''re all aliens beamed down from another planet to show us humans how the game really should be played. An absolute joy to watch on every level. I was gutted when the game ended.

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