It was a glorious game for Barcelona fans and the morning after it certainly feels like a triumph of style and substance. Manchester United were certainly good, there can be no mistaking that, but it was Barcelona's night and the team played about as well as you could ever hope. And to cap it all off, giving Eric Abidal the armband and the right to lift the trophy first was just the touch it all needed to make this a fairytale story for cules.
Pep Guardiola has now won two Champions League titles in 3 years and 10 trophies overall. It's a brilliant run and it's something that all blaugrana fans should feel lucky to be witnessing. It's a convergence of so much talent, of institutional stability (despite the political upheaval, the sporting institution has remained stable), and of a general desire to see a particular style flourish. That meant taking a risk on a third division manager rather than someone proven at the highest level.
And then, of course, there's Lionel Messi. Just after the little Argentine scored Barça's second against United, Guardiola celebrated by pumping his fists and shouting at his bench "That's Messi!" The manager knows that 53 goals in 55 games has kept the team's season alive, but it's also the little man's assists, movement, and defensive work that put him so far ahead of everyone else. That his supporting cast is immensely talented is, of course, great for him, but he supports them as well and celebrates immensely when they score.
When Villa curled in his shot, Messi, who was between David and the goal, sank to his knees screaming his elation. Instead of sulking alone that it wasn't his goal that sealed the deal, he then got up and raced to get into the team hug by the corner flag, all smiles and joy. He may end next year with a 3 peat of FIFA World Player of the Year awards, but he'll celebrate it with his teammates and will continue to work for them.
So now there is a summer, including a rematch in July between the two teams, and I hope all Barcelona fans enjoy it, even the transfer rumors and the discussions about whether or not Barcelona is the greatest club team of all time.