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UCL 2015 Final: Barcelona’s Triumph Built on Teamwork

It is very charming to watch Lionel Messi playing football at his own pace. You will forget other 10 men on the pitch while watching Leo in action. The Argentine captain is so mesmeric and marvelous. In the champions league final, there was a beautiful Leo Messi move, where he float forward, making an one-two exchange with Neymar and Suarez, before striking the ball an inch wide of the top left corner of the post. Juventus goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon was turning his head, with his heart in his mouth, in order to see the ball heading in or over.

Neymar and Suarez, the cunning forward were perfectly in sync with what Lionel Messi was trying to do. After Messi’s goal that won Barca La Liga, two other goals that won them Copa del Rey, everybody thought it will be none but Lionel Messi’s goal would make the difference in Barcelona vs Juventus UCL Final 2015 .

UCL 2015 Final: Barcelona vs Juventus

And of course Leo was the key in Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Juventus in the UCL 2015 Final. Lionel Messi was the prime catalyst for the Barca’s first goal by kicking a pinpoint-accurate ball from the deep to Jordi Alba’s feet on the left of the penalty area. Then Ivan Rakitic flashed his shot across Buffon and into the net. But it was Lionel Messi who started the move. Jordi Alba, Neymar and the brilliant Iniesta put their contribution to the ball, with the latter finally bursting into the penalty box at the perfect moment to square it for Ivan Rakitic.

UCL 2015 Final: Barcelona’s Triumph Built on Teamwork, lionel messi
Barcelona’s skipper ; image credit en.wikipedia.org

Every players of Barcelona played their respective part to perfection in that game. With Neymar’s superbly timed pass for Iniesta and everyone’s contribution was just amazing. The goal was to be considered as a team-goal out of several perfect individual actions. All other 10 outfield players touched the ball in building up that goal.

Barcelona has become strongest with bundles of talented players. Barca goal keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has produced some matured display all through the Champions League as well as La Liga. Dani Alves. On other hand, has turned to be a big match boy, by putting consistently impressive displays, especially in big important games. And Gerard Pique has been quite outstanding for past few months, while Javier Mascherano has shut down his doubters both on the pitch and out of it.

Jordi Alba has proved to be wonderfully consistent in his playing, with his streak down the pitch to set up a goal for Neymar in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey win over Althletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon. Sergio Busquets has been showing supreme confidence throughout the season.

For Andres Iniesta, it has been a tough campaign as Barcelona’s approach seemed top-heavy before turning the year. However, it was Andres Iniesta who was awarded the man of the match in the Champions league final. As an assistant for Rakitic’s goal and two other mind blowing passes, and doing some extraordinary ball distribution, it was only Iniesta to be awarded the man of match.

Then, time for Xavi came, he entered replacing Iniesta when Barcelona was struggling to control the game despite 2-1 lead. When Iniesta left the pitch, putting the captain’s armband on Xavi, and telling him to go on and bring the cup him in his final match for the club, it was a memorable moment to see.

Also Read: Barcelona players yearly salary for the season 2014-2015

Xavi did his duty, winning his 25th trophy for Barcelona in 17-long season career. Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has used Xavi consistently as a substitute. The commander of the match came right at the moment when Barcelona looked to be pressurized. Xavi did exactly what a perfect captain would do in that situation of the game.

Ivan Rakitic was the first man to score in this vital game. Rakitic was actually the can-opener and it’s not the first time this season. He was the opening goal-scorer for Barcelona on five other occasions this season. When the attackers have been locked down, Ivan Rakitic is the man upon whom everyone can depend. But, that doesn’t happen frequently, when Messi, Suarez and Neymar are playing in one team. The MSN triad have scored an unbelievable 122 goals so far in all competitions this season, which has become a record for an attacking trident in Spanish football.

Barcelona emphasized the “team” nature for the victory in the UCL 2015 Final. The team was consisted of Claudio Bravo (the Zamora trophy winner), Jeremy Mathieu (first goal in the Clasico) and many more talents, enough to be the best among all European clubs.

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club football football News flash recent uefa champions league

Barcelona are the Owner of modern-day Champions League

After proving so hard to defeat all through the Champions League, the Barcelona players found it hard to take it all in. Having a 3-1 victory over Juventus in Berlin’s Olympiastadion, there had an air of disbelief about what they had achieved, which added an obvious joy and sense of vindication to the whole Barcelona team.

It is Andres Iniesta, whom you would think by now had seen it all. Literally, Iniesta had won it all. Iniesta began,

“Six years ago we thought that winning a treble again was unrepeatable. But, we did it this time and it makes your hair stand on end when you think back and see how much lucky you guys are to see winning everything. “

The new generation of Barcelona own the modern Champions League in the way their great rivals at Real Madrid owned the old European Cup. Barcelona have long been the benchmark for the European Championship and the reference point. Right now, they have again re-asserted that status. This is not just their second treble in the space of six years, as Andres Iniesta mentioned, but also their fourth Champions League in nine seasons.

Barcelona are the Owner of modern-day Champions League, treble
Barcelona Treble ; image credit www.espnfc.com

That consistency is unmatched since the European Cup was rebranded and restructured in 1992. Actually, it is the longest spells of continuous success for Barcelona in its 60 years of existence. There are hardly any that can match that level of success.

This is certainly something hard to achieve. The chronological evolution and extreme success of this bunch of players was only emphasized by the order in which they emerged from the dressing room, after almost two hours of joyful celebration.

Ivan Rakitic was the first man coming out, who also scored the first goal in that final and so energetically introduced fresh impetus and proper direction to his team throughout the season. The Croatian has sped things up by releasing the rampage of attack more frequently. Rakitic shared his first Champions League medal with his young daughter, while both Luis Suarez and Neymar clearly wanted to share their first successes in the Champions league with their children too.

Next, the three-time champion Dani Alves came out with joyful bopping of his body along with the sound of music, which was coming from a set of speakers he was carrying. The joy was a reflection of his great success who had rediscovered his mojo this season along with many other players.

Then, the magnificent Leo Messi came to the arena carrying his son in one arm. He then switched his boy to other in order to shake the hand of Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri, whom he had spotted chatted to Italian media. Messi had shown a great sportsmanship to go with his place at the apex of the sporting world.

The Champions league trophy was then carried out by no other than one man, the captain Xavi. He held one arm of the prized piece of hardware, while the other arm was held by his long-time midfield partner Sergio Busquets. The other one of that fantastic central midfield trio Andres Iniesta said,

“The picture of Xavi leaving with the Champions League trophy in his arm is the most beautiful one for a footballer like him.”

There is one person who was assuredly striding out at the back of it all and he is Gerard Pique. He mentioned how Barcelona had “suffered” in the final when it went on to 1-1 following Morata’s goal. But Pique felt that the Morata score only brought out the spirit to the team that has sparked a treble season. The Barcelona team have rediscovered the motivation with so many talents, is the most remarkable aspect of all, especially from a historical point of view. All

Assuredly striding out at the back of it all, as ever and as he had done in this final, was Gerard Pique. He talked about how the team had “suffered” in the final, using some choice language about when it went to 1-1 following Alvaro Morata’s goal, but felt that the Morata score only brought out the spirit and defiance that has sparked a treble season. All three trophies of Barcelona’s treble are on the top of the display during their double-decker bus parade in Barcelona. It was quite a picture to capture and the Barca fans will remember it for long time.

While Real Madrid won five European Cups between 1955 and 1966, there were four key players who were involved in the first to last season with the team. Then came Liverpool, winning four titles between 1977-1984, having only one such player. In Milan’s triple between 1989-1994, there were six players with that potential. And with Barcelona, the number is seven.

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Top 10 Goal scorers in UEFA Champions League of All time

The UEFA Champions League is one of the top football competitions in the world. The tournament is simply known as the Champions League. It is largely organized by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) since 1955 and is regarded as the most prestigious football competition in Europe. The competition was officially known as European Champion Clubs’ Cup prior to 1992, when it was initially a straight knock out competition, which was opened only to the champion club of each European country. Afterwards the Champions League began to be expanded including a round-robin group stage and more teams.

The UEFA Champions League has able to draw huge popularity throughout the world. Most notably, the 2012-13 Champions League final achieved the status of most watched annual sporting event in the world, which drew over 360 million television viewers in 2013.

10 Goal scorers in UEFA Champions League of All time:

The Sporty Ghost desk, hereby took an initiative to enlist the top 10 goal scorers in UEFA Champions League of All time. Footballers all over the world in their respective clubs always try their utmost level in this ultimate stage of European club football. It is a dream for any footballer to score in a champions league match. Great players compete each other to be the top scorer of champions league. Here is the list of champions league top scorers of all time.

10. Filippo Inzaghi, Italy

Top 10 Goal scorers in UEFA Champions League of All time, Filippo Inzaghi
Filippo Inzaghi : photo credit: Wikimedia/Delfort

Goals: 46
UCL matches: 81
Years active: 1997-2012
Clubs: Juventus, Milan

The Italian striker spent most of his life time in Juventus and Milan. Inzaghi won two Champions League titles (2003, 2007) and three Serie A titles (1998, 2004, and 2011). He scored a total 46 goals including a penalty in the UEFA Champions League. Most notably, in the final of 2007 champions league, Inzaghi was voted as the Man of the match for his overwhelming performance. In the European club competitions, he made his place at 4th highest goal scorer with 70 goals, behind only Raul, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Inzaghi also holds the record of scoring most hat-tricks (10) in the history of Serie A.

For the Italian National team, he earned a total 57 caps and scored 25 goals. He represented his country in three occasions of FIFA World Cup, and winning the 2006 edition. Now, he stands at no. 10 in the list of top 10 goal scorers in UEFA champions League of All time.

9. Karim Benzema, France

Karim Benzema, champions league
Karim Benzema : photo credit: Wikimedia/Addesolen

Goals: 46
UCL matches: 77
Years active: 2006- present
Clubs: Lyon, Real Madrid

Karim Benzema is a French professional footballer who also plays for the Spanish club Real Madrid. He has been regarded as one of the most talented footballers and a potent finisher from inside the box. In the champions league, Karim Benzema has crowned with 46 goals in his 77 UCL appearances. His contribution is remarkable in Real Madrid when they won Copa del Rey in 2011, scoring stunning 32 goals for his club. The three times French Player of the Year winner, Karim Benzema is truly an asset for Real Madrid in their Champions League campaign.

Also read: Top 10 Fastest strikers in the world

He appeared in 81 games for France and scored a total 27 goals. He represented his country two times in UEFA European Football Championship and once in FIFA World Cup in 2014. His astonishing hat-trick against Malmo in the Champions League this season was one of his amazing displays.

8. Eusebio, Portugal

Eusebio, top goalscorers
Eusebio: photo credit: Wikimedia/Sylvia Joy

Goals: 46
UCL matches: 65
Years active: 1961-1974
Club: Benfica

Eusebio, commonly nicknamed as “The Black Panther”, is one of the greatest footballers of all time in the history. The Portuguese striker scored a stunning total 749 goals in 745 matches at the club level. He also scored 41 goals for his national side in his 64 appearances.

Eusebio is a prolific goal scorer, who has a very ferocious right foot. Besides, his speed, technique and passion for football made him a world class player. In the season of 1961-62, Eusebio won the European Cup for his club Benfica by scoring two goals in the final against Real Madrid. Benfica won the final by 5-3. He was awarded the 2nd place in 1962 FIFA Ballon d’Or for his remarkable performance. He is truly a gem in the Champions League history. His place has been untouched for many years in the champions league top goal scorers list.

7. Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine

Andriy Shevchenko, champions league top scorer
Andriy Shevchenko : photo credit: Wikimedia/Илья Хохлов

Goals: 48
UCL matches: 100
Years active: 1994-2012
Clubs: Dynamo Kyiv, Milan, Chelsea

Andriy Shevchenko is now a retired Ukrainian national team striker. He also played for Dynamo Kyiv, Milan and Chelsea. He is at no 7 position in our list of Top 10 Goal scorers in UEFA Champions League of All time. His football career has been highlighted by many awards. The most prestigious was that he won the 2004 FIFA Ballon d’Or. He also won the Champions League title in 2003 with Italian club Milan and became runner-up in 2005 and 2008 Champions league.

He scored an amazing 48 goals in his 100 champions league matches. He is one of the most eminent players for Milan, where he scored a tally of 175 goals. In addition with his bright club career, he also led Ukraine in the quarter-finals of 2006 FIFA World Cup. He is well known for his powerful and accurate shots and his unparallel skills with the ball.

6. Alfredo Di Stefano, Spain

Alfredo Di Stefano, best spanish footballer
Alfredo Di Stefano: photo credit: Flickr/Ver en vivo En Directo

Goals: 49
UCL matches: 58
Years active: 1955-1964
Club: Real Madrid

Alfredo Di Stefano is regarded as one of the most complete and influential footballer of all time in the football history. He was best during his time, winning numerous trophies for his team. The Real Madrid legend won the champions league trophies for the five consecutive season, from 1956. Di Stefano made history by scoring goals in each of the champions league finals for Real Madrid.

This powerful, quick and prolific forward scored a total 49 goals in his 58 champions league appearances. Not only as a forward, he could play anywhere in the pitch. During his period in Real Madrid, he marked his name as the highest goal scorer for them with 216 goals in just 282 matches. The 1957 and 1959 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, Alfredo Di Stefano remains at no 6 in the list of top 10 goal scorers in UEFA Champions league of all time.

5. Thierry Henry, France

Thierry Henry, great french footballer
Thierry Henry: photo credit: Flickr/Drew Dies

Goals: 50
UCL matches: 112
Years active: 1997-2010
Clubs: Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona

The French striker, Thierry Henry spent most of his career in Arsenal FC and became the club’s all-time top goal scorer. Henry contributed to win two premier league titles and three FA cups for the Gunners. He played as Arsenal captain when he led them to 2006 champions league finals. This world class player spent eight years in Arsenal before moving to Barcelona in 2007.

Thierry Henry scored 50 goals in his 112 UCL appearances. He played an integral part in Barcelona FC in their historic treble in 2009, La Liga, the Copa Del Rey and the UEFA Champions League. His name was included in the UEFA Team of the Year five times. As a France national team player he also won the prestigious FIFA world cup in 1998 and UEFA European Championship in 2000. Thierry Henry is ranked at no 5 in our list of top 10 goal scorers in UEFA champions league of all time.

4. Ruud van Nistelrooy, Netherlands

Ruud van Nistelrooy, champions league top scorers
Ruud van Nistelrooy : photo credit: Wikimedia/Aloba

Goals: 56
UCL matches: 73
Years active: 1998-2009
Clubs: PSV, Manchester United, Real Madrid

With 56 goals in 73 champions league appearances, Ruud van Nistelrooy stands at no 4 spot in the list of top 10 goal scorers in UEFA champions league of all time. The former Dutch international is a three-time champions league top scorer and also became top goal scorer in three different European domestic leagues.

Also read: Top 10 transfers in Manchester United in 2015-16

Nistelrooy scored a total 150 goals in 219 matches for the Manchester United before securing his position at Real Madrid in 2006. The most successful period was at United, achieving Premier league, FA Cup, Football league cup and FA Community Shield. His playing style and his aggressiveness in the box made him one of the lethal strikers in the football world.

3. Raul Gonzales, Spain

Raul Gonzales, real madrid legends
Raul Gonzales : photo credit: Wikimedia/Tsutomu Takasu

Goals: 71
UCL matches: 142
Years active: 1995-2011
Clubs: Real Madrid, Schalke 04

The retired Spanish footballer and former Real Madrid striker, Raul Gonzales is one of the most valuable players in the history of Real Madrid. During his 16 years in Real, he scored a total of 323 goals, which made him the 2nd all-time top goal scorer, just behind Cristiano Ronaldo. With Real Madrid, Raul won six La Liga titles, three UEFA Champions league titles, one UEFA Super Cup, and two Intercontinental Cup. He stands at no. 3 in the list of top 10 goal scorers in UEFA champions league of all time.

Raul became the first player to score in two champions league finals, in 2000 and 2002. His football career was flourished with many awards. He received the Best striker award by IFFHS in 1999, became the only player to be included in UEFA Club forward of the year three times, placed 2nd in 2001 FIFA Ballon d’Or, award for champions league top goal scorer, five Don Balon awards and so many.

2. Lionel Messi, Argentina

Lionel Messi, barcelona legend
Lionel Messi : photo credit: Wikimedia/Lluís

Goals: 80
UCL matches: 102 (Till date)
Years active: 2005-present
Club: Barcelona

Lionel Messi, the magician of football is truly a goal machine for both the Argentina national team and the Spanish club Barcelona. The Barcelona forward is a four time Ballon d’Or winner. Messi is considered as the best player of the world by many. As a Barcelona forward, he won seven La Liga titles, four champions league titles and three Copa del Rey titles so far. Messi has scored 292 goals for Barcelona in his 326 matches and still counting.

Also Read: Top 10 fun facts about Lionel Messi

Last year in the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich, Messi scored twice and made an assist in their 3-0 win. His 2nd goal which came as a chip over the Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after he dribbled past Jerome Boateng, was named the best goal of the season by UEFA. There are many more mesmerizing goals that came through his feet. After the end of this season of Champions league, you could see more that you expect from the mighty Leo.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo, top UCL goalscorer
Cristiano Ronaldo : photo credit: Wikimedia/Jan S0L0

Goals: 88
UCL matches: 121 (Till date)
Years active: 2003-present
Clubs: Manchester United, Real Madrid

The Real Madrid star and Portuguese national team captain, Cristiano Ronaldo is the champions league top goalscorer with 88 goals in 121 matches. Cristiano won Ballon d’Or three times and FIFA World player of the year in 2008. He is often regarded as the best Portuguese footballer of all time. His career has been enlightened with many achievements. He attained three Premier league titles, one FA Cup and two football league cups with Manchester United. With Real Madrid, he won one La Liga, two Copa del Rey, two UEFA Champions league, one UEFA Super Cup and two FIFA Club world cups.

He holds the record for the most goal scorer in a single UEFA champions league season, which is 17 in 2013-14 season. He is now the top goal scorer for Real Madrid with 239 goals in his 217 matches. Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Shakhtar Donetsk in the group stage match of 2015-16 Champions league, to be the all time top goal scorer in UEFA Champions League, making the tally 80, ahead of Lionel Messi (77).

Also read: Cristiano Ronaldo Net Worth in 2015-16

He is fast, he is aggressive and he is a prolific goal scorer. There is always a hidden rivalry between Cristiano and Leo in regard of breaking records after records. May be we are luckiest to see the beautiful game of football becoming more astonishing.