Barcelona wins Champions League title

A rare headed goal by Lionel Messi helped Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 in the Champions League final on Wednesday, giving the Spanish side its third European Cup title and third trophy in a magical season.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is thrown in the air in celebration after winning the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

Barcelona 2 Manchester United 0

ROME — A rare headed goal by Lionel Messi helped Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 in the Champions League final on Wednesday, giving the Spanish side its third European Cup title and third trophy in a magical season.

Samuel Eto’o put the Spanish champions ahead in the 10th minute and Messi’s 70th-minute goal — his ninth in the Champions League this season — sealed the victory over the defending champions at the Stadio Olimpico.

The triumph completed a sweep of titles for 38-year-old Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola in his first season, after wins in the Spanish league and cup. The former Barcelona star, who started as a ball boy at Camp Nou, now joins five others who have won the title both as a player and a coach.

“When I won as a player I was young and it was magnificent,” Guardiola said of his 1992 triumph at Wembley against Sampdoria. “But now winning the treble at the first attempt is marvellous.”

Guardiola became the youngest coach to win European soccer’s top club competition since the European Cup became the Champions League in 1993. Barcelona also won the trophy in 1992 and 2006.

United had been chasing its fourth European Cup title, and fourth trophy this season after winning the Premier League, FIFA Club World Cup and League Cup.

But United was thoroughly outplayed by the Spanish side as Messi scored his 38th goal of an amazing year for Barcelona, which has 153 league and cup goals this season. Xavi floated a diagonal ball into the United area to find Messi unmarked, and the five-foot-seven Argentina striker — renowned for his deft dribbling and shooting — used his head to loop the ball over United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar and into the net.

Messi set off colourful celebrations at one end of the stadium, filled with 62,467 fans, and left English fans in silence.

The loss left Man United manager Alex Ferguson at 25 titles in 23 seasons. He failed to match Liverpool’s Bob Paisley’s three titles in the competition.

“We started the game brightly. We were confident and we could have been in front,” Ferguson said. “We had the ball but didn’t use it very well . . . We defended fantastically all season but they were two shoddy goals.”

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