2011 Champions League final: Eric Abidal's story about Man Utd players begging for mercy

Pep Guardiola's Barcelona team was just too good

The 2010/11 Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona was an incredibly one-sided affair.

Pep Guardiola‘s collection of superstars rocked up to Wembley Stadium and produced one of the greatest team performances ever witnessed on a football pitch.

Barcelona won the match 3-1 thanks to goals from Pedro Rodriguez, the mesmerising Lionel Messi and David Villa.

To be honest, that scoreline flattered Sir Alex Ferguson’s United team immensely and Wayne Rooney‘s first half strike was there only highlight from a sobering evening in the English capital.

The Red Devils – who were far and away the Premier League’s strongest side at the time – just couldn’t lay a glove on Barcelona, particularly in the latter stages of the final.

According to Eric Abidal, United players were effectively begging for mercy shortly before the full-time whistle was blown.

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“The thing I remember most about that final is the last half an hour,” Abidal said back in 2016, 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 team-mates couldn’t understand them but I could.

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“‘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.”

Guardiola’s Barcelona side really were savage…

The Blaugrana completed 777 passes as a team during the 2011 Champions League final, more than double United’s tally of 357.

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So you can understand why Fergie’s troops threw their toys out the pram to some degree.

Abidal heroically completed the full 90 minutes at Wembley that evening after being diagnosed with a liver tumor earlier in the year.

After the game, Carles Puyol allowed him to be the first Barcelona player to hold the famous Champions League trophy aloft in front of the fans at Wembley.

A truly heartwarming gesture.

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