Barca become first club to win European treble twice
Barcelona were crowned European champions for the fifth time after beating Juventus 3-1 in a superb Champions League final at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from Ivan Rakitic after four minutes, Luis Suarez in the 68th and Brazilian Neymar in stoppage time sealed a treble for the Catalans who also won La Liga and the Spanish King’s Cup.
Both teams played outstanding, attacking football in one of the great European finals and Juve pushed Barca all the way, briefly cancelling out Rakitic’s early strike when Alvaro Morata equalised after 55 minutes.
The thrilling final lifted football’s spirits following the revelations in the recent FIFA corruption scandal.
Luis Suarez and Neymar scored second half goals to give Barcelona a 3-1 Champions League final victory over Juventus on Saturday and make the Spaniards the first team to twice win the European treble.
Luis Enrique capped his first season as Barcelona’s head coach by matching Pep Guardiola’s feat from the 2008/09 season when the Catalans captured the European, Spanish league and cup titles.
An early goal by Barca’s Ivan Rakitic was cancelled out by Juventus’ ex-Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, who equalised on 55 minutes.
But Suarez put the game beyond the Italian champions with a 68th minute strike off a rebound at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. Neymar added the third with the last kick of the game in the 97th minute.
Juventus suffered the indignation of becoming the first team to lose six European Cup finals, 30 years after winning the trophy for the first time amidst the tragedy of the Heysel Stadium disaster.
This was the fifth time Barcelona have been crowned European champions and it is their fourth Champions League title in the last decade after their 2006, 2009 and 2011 triumphs.
Following their 2009 treble, Barcelona join Celtic, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich on the exclusive list of teams to have won the treble.
Despite brief moments of magic, Lionel Messi failed to become the first player to score in three Champions League finals as he equalled Dutch star Clarence Seedorf’s tally of four winners’ medals.
Barcelona showed early nerves with two uncustomary mistakes in defence straight from kick-off before Rakitic gave the Catalan giants the lead with just four minutes gone.
Neymar fed his captain Andres Iniesta from the left wing and the Spain international squared for Rakitic to drill home from close-range past Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon.
Juve came back into the game midway through the first-half, but Suarez forced Buffon, who failed to claim a winners’ medal at the 12th attempt, into another save as it finished 1-0 at the break.
The Spaniards picked up where they left off in the second half when Rakitic fed Suarez, who forced Buffon into a diving save with 48 minutes gone before firing over moments later.
Messi, who showed glimpses of his brilliance with a first-half darting run through the Juve defence, then fired wide after exchanging two quick passes in the build-up move.
Juve got the equaliser they had threatened when defender Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross found Carlos Tevez, whose shot was parried by Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, only for Morata to rifle home the loose ball on 55 minutes.
It was the ex-Real striker’s first goal against Barcelona despite four years at the Bernabeu having left Madrid last year.
The goal breathed life back into Juve’s ambitions, but it was a touch of Messi magic which led to the decisive goal.
The Argentina international attacked the Juve defence with a mazy run and although Buffon blocked his shot, Suarez fired home the rebound on 68 minutes.
Neymar looked to have headed Barca’s third just moments later, but Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir spotted the ball hit his arm on its way into the Juve goal.
Xavi Hernandez came on for his final game in the Barca shirt in the dyings stages as he made history with a record 151st Champions League appearance before joining Qatari side Al Sadd next season.
The scene was set for Neymar to cap his first Champions League final with Barcelona’s third just before the final whistle.
Barcelona wins Champions League for fifth time,2nd Triple
Barcelona 3 (Rakitic 4″ Suarez 68″ Neymar 97″) Juventus 1 (Morata 55″)
Barcelona got their hands on the Champions League trophy after trouncing Juventus 3-1 in the final at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on Saturday night.
Ivan Rakitic struck first blood as early as the fourth minute for Barca but Alvaro Morata equalised for the Turin giants immediately after the breather.
However, Suarez netted in the 68th minute and Neymar sealed the win in stoppage time to ensure Barca won the European treble twice.
97″ GOAL! Neymar scores and seals the tie.
95″ The long whistle is blown and Barcelona are the champions of the Champions League.
92″ Tevez’s innocuous curling shot goes straight to Stegen.
91″ Rakitic replaced by Mathieu.
90″ Five minutes added.
89″ Stegen pulls off a good save of Marchisio.
86″ Juve make a quick inroad and Pogba’s superb through has Tevez fumbling with the ball.
84″ Suarez seems to be in some pain having taken a knock on his left thigh by Bonucci.
83″ Morata is replaced as time is ticking away for Juve.
81″ Gerard Pique could have had his name on the scorer’s list but hits wide with only Buffon at his mercy.
79″ Vidal is replaced.
78″ Barca are living dangerously by committing corner kicks and Pogba almost finds the net with his header. Goalkeeper Stegen is nowhere.
76″ Xavi comes in for Iniesta and Iniesta hands the captain’s armband to him.
75″ On the other side Messi takes a free-kick but shoots over.
72″ Ter Stegen makes a desperate clearance from a corner kick and concedes another but no damage done.
71″ GOAL DISALLOWED! Neymar scores and celebrates but the goal is disallowed after his header hit his own hand before beating Buffon on the way into an empty net.
70″ YELLOW! Suarez is booked.
Barcelona 2 (Rakitic 4″ Suarez 68″) Juventus 1 (Morata 55″)
68″ GOAL! Suarez scores after Buffon denies Messi’s first attempt.
64″ Good effort from Pogba, his back to the goal, he turns swiftly and shoots but into Ter Stegen’s gloves.
63″ Xavi is looseing up. Barca need him as they look out of sorts.
62″ Juve seem to have found some rhythm and are looking more looking. Tevez holds his face in his hand after kicking over from 15 yards.
59″ The action swings back and forth now and with alacrity. Juve lose the ball after almost entering the Barca box and then Barca players carry it al the way across only to lose it in the Juve box.
Barcelona 1 (Rakitic 4″) Juventus 1 (Morata 55″)
55″ GOAL! Alvaro Morata capitalises on a rebound after Barca goalkeeper Ter Stegen makes a superb save from Tevez.
50″ Messi weaves his magic to have Juve in a spell. He plays one-two with his teammates to spreadeagle the Juve defence but his shot is just wide. That resembled the Messi of old.
49″ The threat is not cleared as Suarez connects a lovely half volley which sails over the Juve crosspiece.
48″ Off the corner Barca break through but Buffon makes a superb save again from Suarez. Clearly this veteran goalkeeper has kept Juve’s hopes alive.
47″ Juve earn a free-kick and Pirlo takes it but Pique heads for a corner.
Juve too are comtemplating a few changes a two players limber on the sidelines.
Xavi is still on the bench but coach Luis Enrique is sure to give him his last match for the Catalan club before he heads to Qatar.
The players are out of the tunnel for the second half which should get underway in a few minutes.
Barcelona 1 (Rakitic 4″) Juventus 0
Ivan Rakitic’s fourth minute goal gave Barcelona a 1-0 cushion over Juventus at the end of the first half of the Champions League final at the Olympic Stadium.
It was a brilliant piece of ball-passing which emanated from Lionel Messi, who found Jordi Alba on the left flank. The defender trapped it for Neymar who slid the ball past a host of defenders for an onrushing Andrea Iniesta. The Spanish veteran deceived the Juve defenders with a side-footed pass to Rakitic who beat Gianluigi Buffon all ends up with a left-footed placement.
The goal almost killed the contest with Barcelona dominating and Juventus looking clueless except for a couple of shots which were wayward.
45″ The long whistle goes off.
43″ Buffon almost committed a cardinal mistake with his intended pass to a defender which went to Neymar who tried to find Suarez but his lob was too high for him to head home.
40″ YELLOW! Pogba is booked for a tackle from behind on Messi.
38″ Suarez almost doubles Barca’s lead with a grounded shot which beats the outstretched hands of Buffon. The goalkeeper is tested again almost immediately by the same player but this time the Italian goalkeeper punches it for a corner.
35″ Juventus players and the crowd go ballistic after they claim that the referee turned down what looked like a penalty after Jordi Alba dropped Paul Pogba in the box.
34″ Juventus get their second corner of the first half but lack ideas.
32″ Barca are in full control here, looking for another breakthrough.
30″ Bonucci’s tackle on Suarez from behind is harsh but he gets away without a card.
26″ Barca suddenly pick up a gear and Messi it is who makes his run and finds Neymar who tries an off-balance shot which Buffon collects easily.
23″ Barca seem to be making some silly mistakes in defence. Pique fails to clear neatly and Morata is at hand to take a crack but hits wide.
22″ With a one-goal cushion Barcelona have started to play their tiki-taka style.
19″ Good counter from Juventus and Pogba almost found Tevez but for Mascherano’s timely intervention.
17″ Juventus are trying to hold onto the ball after being run ragged by Barcelona in the first 15 minutes.
14″ Vidal is lucky not to get a red card as he goes for another reckless tackle on Neymar.
12″ Buffon pulls off an incredible save, almost a blinder after Dani Alves’ shot deflects a defender.
10″ YELLOW! Vidal is booked early in the match for tripping Busquets.
8″ Neymar tests Buffon at the other end. It’s a powerful right footer which looks like finding the net but swerves late to miss the target.
7″ Morata covers almost 60 yards of the ground and deceives Alba who goes sliding. Morata then finds Vidal but he is hasty with his shot and although beats Ter Stegen is way off the mark.
Barcelona 1 (Rakitic 4″) Juventus 0
4″ GOAL! What ball passing from the Barcelona players. Messi finds Alba on the left who traps for Neymar. The Brazilian relays it for Iniesta who comes darting in and the Spanish maestro sidefoots it to Rakitic who beats a hapless Buffon. The Juventus defence was clearly caught napping.
1″ Early nerves from Barca as Mascherano hands the ball to Tevez just outside the box but the Uruguayan shoots wide. That could have proved costly for Barca. Mascherano then concedes a corner.
Here we go and Juventus it is who set the ball rolling.
We are through with the Champions League anthem and it’s time for some action now.
The opening ceremony is currently on with the kick-off scheduled in another 10 minutes.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo lead the goal scoring charts in this season’s tournament with 10 apiece but Messi will fancy taking the lead tonight.
In 23 finals for Barcelona Messi has scored on 20 occasions.
Barcelona and Juventus supporters have filled the Olympic Stadium to the brim in anticipation of a cracker of a final which is just a few minutes away. So stay tuned.
Some news to keep you occupied while the kick-off is a little under 30 minutes away.
Turkey’s Cuneyt Cakır has been given the whistle for tonight’s game. The 38-year-old has been in charge of four Champions League games this season.
Patrice Evra is the third player to be playing in the Champions League final with three different teams — Monaco, Manchester United and Juventus. Following in Clarence Seedorf’s footsteps.
Javier Mascherano is looking forward to the challenge against Carlos Tevez against whom he played during Boca v River games and during Manchester United v Liverpool.
Barcelona’s team has just been announced, and the three-pronged attack of Messi, Neymar and Suarez predictably start.
Xavi, who is playing his final game for the club tonight, is on the bench.
Juventus make one change and as expected Andrea Barzagli replaces Giorgio Chiellini in the centre of defence.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Suarez, Neymar.
Juventus: Buffon, Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Evra, Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba, Vidal, Tevez, Morata.
Referee: Cuneyt Cakır (Turkey)
Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini will not face Barcelona striker Luis Suarez in the Champions League final after being ruled out through injury.
The Italy centre-back, 30, had been expected to line up against Suarez, who bit him at the World Cup last June.
Barcelona have named Andres Iniesta in their squad, the final eleven of which will be decided upon shortly.
Have won their fifth Spanish league title in seven years last week
Have won their last 11 matches in the Champions League (including qualifiers).
Are chasing a club-record 50th win of the season in all competitions.
Their fearsome trio Messi (58), Neymar (38) and Suarez (24) have a combined score 120 goals this season.
Messi himself has 400 goals for Barcelona.
Xavi has won eight La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies with Barca.
Have won four successive Serie A titles and their first league and Cup double in 2 years.
The Bianconeri is eyeing their first European Cup in 19 years.
Carlos Tevez has scored 29 goals his season.
Pirlo has won Serie A titles in 2004 and 2011 and Champions League titles in 2003 and 2007 while playing for AC Milan.
Juventus are undefeated in their last 9 matches in the Champions League (including qualifiers).
Brazil star Neymar says Barcelona’s Champions League final against Juventus will be a dream come true on Saturday as he plans to celebrate writing history by kissing the trophy.
The 23-year-old will finish his second season at Barca in his first Champions League final with the Spaniards bidding to emulate their 2009 feat of winning the treble of European, league and cup titles.
Victory would see Barca become the first club to win the European treble twice.
“For me to be able to play this final is a dream, ever since I was six or seven years old I have been dreaming of this opportunity to win a Champions League final,” said Neymar.
“Now the time has come and that is why I am going to do what I have to do, so I can enjoy the moments alongside my team mates.
“I have played in lots of finals in my life, but this is the most important one for me.
“I hope I can kiss the trophy at the end of it all and thank god for everything.
“Leo (Messi) and Luis (Suarez) are two players of a very high level.
“We understand each other on and off the pitch, we get on very well.
“I hope to end the season in a happy way taking advantage of the work of all the year with the team and we can be victors.”
Neymar has played his part in Barcelona’s record-breaking season by scoring 38 of the 120 goals netted alongside his fellow superstars Messi and Suarez.
Juventus for their part are also bidding to join the exclusive club of treble winners having already secured the league and cup double.
Veteran Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon insisted on Friday that the Italian champions have not come to Berlin to lie down against favourites Barcelona in the Champions League final.
“I think it would be fair to say that, objectively, Barcelona are the favourites because they have great individual players with great skill,” said the 37-year-old Buffon ahead of Saturday’s game at the Olympic Stadium.
“Any team with player likes Messi, Neymar and Suarez, with (Andres) Iniesta playing behind them, are the favourites.
“They are lucky to have such players in their squad, but when you meet a team like Juventus with (Carlos) Tevez, Paul Pogba and (Leonardo) Bonucci etc…
“I think we’re not necessarily here to be the victims, we have a chance.”
Like Barcelona, Juventus have already secured a domestic league and cup double this season and are now looking to win what would be an unprecedented treble by adding a third European Cup.
Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri says rather than focusing purely on trying to stop Barca’s South American trio, his forwards Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata must look to test the Catalans’ German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
“Neymar, Suarez and Messi, it’s the usual question we have been pondering since we reached the final: how do you stop them?” said Allegri.
“They are excellent players and we’ll have to be at the top of our game to stop them, but we won’t be playing for a draw. We need to score.”
Defender Leonardo Bonucci echoed Buffon’s assertion that Juventus are ready to put up a fight at the Olympic Stadium.
“This game can’t just be summed up by saying it’s a strong Barcelona attack against the Juventus defence,” said the Italy international.
“We certainly got here with the awareness we are one step below Barcelona, but it’s a final and just one game.
“We’re going to put on a good display as a team, just as we did against Borussia Dortmund (in the last 16).
“I think that was the turning point, because we realised we are a great team and that is what got us here.
“The differences will be reduced, it will be up to all eleven of us to try and fight for every ball. We aren’t here just to make up the numbers.
“I think the game will be won and lost in midfield, because that is where you will see different skills and qualities.”SPONSORED