May 28, 2021, marks the 10th anniversary of Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley.
Pep Guardiola’s side outclassed their English opponents and further cemented their status as one of the greatest teams of all-time in the process.
Pedro opened the scoring in the 27th minute before Wayne Rooney equalised shortly afterwards.
Lionel Messi’s goal from outside the box early in the second half restored Barça’s one-goal advantage.
David Villa then effectively killed the game with a brilliant finish with 20 minutes left on the clock.
“In my time as a manager, I would say they’re the best team we’ve faced,” Sir Alex Ferguson told reporters after the match, per The Guardian. “No one has given us a hiding like that.”
Rooney – Man Utd’s best player in 2011 UCL final
Rooney was arguably United’s standout performer on the night.
Aside from scoring the equaliser, the forward worked tirelessly all evening, as his individual highlights show…
What Rooney said to Xavi during the 2011 UCL final
But with 10 minutes remaining, Rooney was desperate for the final whistle and pleaded with Xavi to stop toying with him and his teammates.
In Andres Iniesta’s 2016 book, ‘The Artist’, Xavi revealed his in-game chat with United’s star striker.
“Rooney came up to me before the end of the game,” Xavi said.
“It must have been around the eighty minute mark, something like that.
“And he said to me: ‘That’s enough. You’ve won. You can stop playing the ball around now.’”
Eric Abidal: The English players were furious
Eric Abidal, who also played the full 90 minutes alongside Xavi, has a similar memory from the final.
“The thing I remember most about that final is the last half an hour,” the Frenchman said, per Manchester Evening News.
“The English players were angry, really furious, because we had turned Wembley into a huge rondo and there was nothing they could do about it.
“They kept swearing, shouting everything under the sun. It was incredible. Some of my teammates couldn’t understand them but I could.
“‘That’s enough, stop f***ing about. We’re dead.’ And there are still 25 minutes left. Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Busquets, Alves, who was practically a midfielder that day, kept going.”
Barcelona completed 777 passes in the final, which was more than double United’s tally of 357.
Guardiola’s side had passed Ferguson’s men off the pitch and left them counting down the seconds until full-time.
Ferguson: How Man Utd could have won the 2011 UCL final
However, Ferguson recently expressed his belief that United would have won the final had he assigned Park Ji-sung the task of man-marking Messi during the second half.
“That’s where I lost the final against Barcelona at Wembley,” Ferguson told LADBible after naming Park as one of the three most underrated players he managed, along with Brian McClair and Ronny Johnsen.
“I should have changed at half-time and put Ji-sung Park on Messi. That was a mistake, I realised that after 10 minutes. I was going to do it at half-time, then I said, ‘Well, we just equalised before half-time, they may see the game differently, we may grow into the game better.’
“We were actually quite good in the last 10 minutes of that [half]. We came into it and we could have been in front.
“But if I’d played Ji-sung Park against Messi, I think we’d have beat them. I really do.”