After denying Manchester United FC back-to-back titles, FC Barcelona will be doubly determined to scale that peak with the 2010 final to be played at the Santiago Bernabéu, home of rivals Real Madrid CF. Can they do it?
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Sir Alex Ferguson may have spoken of needing victory in Rome to "join the pantheon of great teams" but it was FC Barcelona who did just that by defeating the holders to join an élite group of six clubs to have won the European Champion Clubs' Cup three times or more.
United took to the Stadio Olimpico turf with high hopes of becoming the first side in the UEFA Champions League era to successfully defend the title, but were left chasing shadows after Samuel Eto'o broke the deadlock on ten minutes. Only the Liverpool FC team that lifted the European Cup at the Stadio Olimpico in 1984 played more games in a season than United's 66 this term, and the holders looked heavy-legged as Barcelona's 'tiki-taka' passing enabled them to establish dominance.
Once Lionel Messi had doubled the advantage in the 70th minute – the perfect moment to score his first goal against English opposition at the eleventh attempt – the result was beyond doubt. The triumph made Barcelona the first Spanish club to land the treble of Liga, Copa del Rey and European Cup, fuelling the belief that coach Josep Guardiola can create a dynasty at Camp Nou. With Messi (21), Gerard Piqué (22), Sergio Busquets (20) and Bojan Krkić (18) at the vanguard of an exciting crop of talent emerging from their La Masia academy, the future is bright for the Blaugrana.
With United failing to match the feats of AC Milan who collected back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990, Barcelona will now be determined to scale what is becoming an almost insurmountable peak – particularly with the 2010 final to be played at the Santiago Bernabéu home of great rivals Real Madrid CF. Will they do it?