2011 Champions League final: Barcelona's iconic warm-up shows Man Utd were always doomed


Barcelona’s Champions League-winning side of the 2010/11 season might just be the greatest team that men’s football has ever seen.

While the Blaugrana’s 2008/09 side might have packed more star quality at first glance, it was two years later that Pep Guardiola truly distilled his ‘Tika Taka’ brand of football into the purest product.

And boy did Manchester United find out about that as they once again fell at the final hurdle of Europe’s premier competition, ending up on the receiving end of a 3-1 humbling at Wembley.

2011 Champions League final

Every member of the legendary front three of Lionel Messi, David Villa and Pedro found the net at the home of English football, while Wayne Rooney’s consolation goal flattered the Red Devils.

It was a performance of such immaculate quality with Xavi and Andres Iniesta effortlessly pulling the strings in midfield that Sir Alex Ferguson named the Barcelona side as his toughest ever opponents.

Arsenal fans clash after losing to Man Utd (Football Terrace)

In fact, Barca were so untouchable that there are multiple accounts of United players essentially begging for the embarrassment to stop as they were reduced to mere training cones in London.

But perhaps the Red Devils shouldn’t have been surprised by the fate they suffered when you consider just how electric that Barcelona looked before they’d even kicked a competitive ball.

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Barcelona’s frightening warm-up

We say that because footage of Guardiola’s side warming up for the star-studded game with a classic ‘rondo’ was enough to make you realise that United were doomed to lose.

Besides, you know a warm-up is pretty special when it’s reemerged on Twitter more than 10 years after it actually happened with the Catalans’ alien passing and chemistry making for a work of art.

So, be sure to reflect on what might just be the greatest sports team in history making football look ridiculously easy down below:

No, the footage hasn’t been sped up, they really are that good.

Humiliation for Man Utd

And the exact brand of speedy possession and pinpoint passes that you saw in the warm-up was the exact murder weapon with which they vanquished one of Ferguson’s finest United sides.

In fact, skipper-for-the-day Eric Abidal even saw the game itself as a massive rondo with his remarkable account of just how frustrated the United players became as the trophy slipped away.


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Per the Manchester Evening News, Abidal said: “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.

“‘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.” Unreal.



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