Knocking on Heaven’s DoorBy: Alfonso Duro
So you may have heard there’s a big match this Saturday.
It’s called the final of the Champions League, and it’s one of the few things that still holds up to its name and delivers what it promises in this world of click-here-and-you-will-never-believe-what-happens-next hollowness.
It is arguably the most important soccer match of the year, and as you probably know, if you’ve given us the six seconds it takes to read down to here, it pits FC Barcelona and Juventus against each other. (Well, now we all know.)
So who will win, you ask?
FC BARCELONA: IN MESSI WE TRUST. The phenomenal start of 2015 for Lio Messi has put him on the straight path towards this year’s Ballon d’Or, but he now has one chance to secure his status and dispel any ill rumors about him entering the final stretch of his career.
Moreover, Saturday’s match in Berlin could provide a decisive argument on La Pulga being the best of all time. While he still hasn’t won the World Cup like Maradona did in 1986, the Argentine striker has lifted enough club titles with Barcelona—23 in the last 10 years—to leave no doubt about where he should be positioned on the list of all-time greats (in case you missed it: all the way on the top).
Messi’s latest addition to his outstanding highlights reel may well be the crowning jewel of a career that has seen him score all types of marvelous goals in the most decisive moments of games and championships (yes, we know: except for the World Cup final). And if you don’t believe us, ask Bayern’s Jerome Boateng for his thoughts on the subject.
Yet, after winning La Liga and the Copa del Rey, the Argentine can now become the leader of the only team in the world to get two treblesin its history.
The fact that it will be Xavi’s last game as a Blaugrana simply seems to further prove that all the stars are aligned for Barça to be inducted to the Olympus of soccer as the best club of all time.
Unless Juve has something to say about it.
WHAT JUVENTUS HAS TO SAY. Make no mistake: Juventus will make Messi, Xavi and Co. work really hard for the glory. Allegri’s men have demonstrated that they are far from the stereotypical Italian club: they are a well-oiled machine that has managed to overcome the worst of times to make it to Berlin—and that’s just too much to give up now that they are so close to the end line.
Carlos Tévez is playing the best soccer of his career, and wants to give Messi a run for his money in the race for the Ballon d’Or. If Juventus is able to hold on to the dream of winning the Champions League, it is surely because of El Apache, but also because of old rocker Gianluigi Buffon.
The goalkeeping legend returns to Berlin, where he helped Italy win its fourth World Cup and became Zinedine Zidane’s biggest nightmare during the final (fine, second biggest, after Marco Materazzi). Now, he wants to bring Juventus its third European title, and shutting out the likes of Messi, Suárez and Neymar would just be the gravy on top for good old “Gigi.”
THE VERDICT? While Barcelona arrives as favorite to the final by being at the peak of their performing powers and not having lost a game since January, Juventus doesn’t trail much behind. The Italians are also fighting to win their own treble and bring the club back to the top after a journey through the desert in the last decade. So here’s what we can predict: people will be talking about it for years to come.
LOGISTICS: Champions League final, Jun 6, 2:45pm ET, broadcast on FOX Sports