Sorry Carlo – You won’t be catching the trophy this year.
Barcelona would only have to travel the familiar 6 hour drive (or hour and half flight) to Madrid to take part in the 2010 Champions League final next month. However, to accomplish that they’ll have to pull off a stunner tonight. Inter Milan lead by the Special One has a 3-1 aggregate lead.
Yeah you should be smiling Jose, you’re getting back your play-making dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder. The theme of this year’s CL final could have an orange dutch flavor if Inter can hold onto there lead. Jose talked about his attacking mid’s return and just how much he’ll utilize him.
“We will see if [Wesley] Sneijder can play the full 90 minutes. He has a minor injury but he will play. There are important matches after this one so I will have to take a risk. The scoreboard says it’s 3-1 with 90 minutes left, but history is full of cases when a team that held an advantage ended up losing. How many times have results been turned around? The only thing concerning me is helping Inter realise their dream.”
Now it was bold and interesting that Jose said “their dream”, he explains himself beautifully here.
“I can’t say it’s my dream because I’ve won the Champions League before, but for Inter it’s been over 40 years since they won the competition so it’s a dream for them. It’ll be a different match to the one in November, when Barcelona were superior to us in many ways. I also expect a different game to the first leg, too. Barcelona are still the great team they were in November and December but Inter have improved.”
Indeed your team has improved and Barcelona comes into tonight’s match with some huge players out because of injury or suspension. The defending champions and the Italians are also in tough battles for there respective home titles, the La Liga and Serie A trophies are not decided. This is the most exciting time of the football year and to see two giants vying for the Madrid Final should be a fulfilling experience. Barca will be with out Captain Carles Puyol because of card suspension and without Andrés Iniesta (right thigh), Eric Abidal (groin tear). This does mean that Pep may start Argentinian Gabriel Milito in the center of defense. Thus we could see two of Argentina’s most beloved brothers battling to make it to Madrid (Diego Milito is a starting striker for Inter). The brothers could be in direct battle all night long.
Diego and Gabriel Milito.
In a game that also pits two guys “traded” for each other in Etoo and Ibrahimović, the story lines for this match run deep. Also the battle of whom has the better football style the Italians or the Spanish is a key part of the game. The Spanish have looked like the best place in the world for soccer but the defending world cup champs are Italy. There is so much for this match its just so exciting.
A packed Camp Nou should have the whole city shaking.
Players to Watch:
Barcelona – Lionel Messi – Barca need goals and who else do you look at but the #10 superstar?
Yeah you buddy. You need to net twice at least. We’ve seen you do better against Arsenal!! Lionel Messi is the best player in the world and by the time this 22 year old finishes his career he maybe the greatest of all time. Barcelona’s offense is about chances on goal and there is no one better at turning them into goals. Plain and simple Barca have to attack attack attack. This game is going to be wild. Lionel has 8 goals in 10 CL games.
Inter Milan – Walter Samuel – The wily Argentinian has to shut down his countryman.
Yeah this battle will be the one to watch all night. Walter is one of the more physical and imposing defenders in the world. His ability to keep pace with quicker and more athletic players shows just how intelligent a defender he is. He cuts off runs, controls cut backs, and has knack for toe punching a ball away from a dribbling player. And don’t try and “force” your way into the box when angry Walter is there. He’ll lay you on your ass – just like him dropping his little buddy to the ground in the above pic. A war is coming tonight and Walter is one of the soldiers to watch.
Whew this is a tough one to predict!!!
Yep see ya in Madrid Mr. Special One. I hated you when you were on the Chelsea sidelines, but i’ve grown to adore your bold demeanor. Also since you gave Avram Grant his start in the big time I will always be grateful (Chelsea I still hate you for letting Grant go so easily – though Carlo is one of the top three managers in the world). Jose M has this bunch of players prepared for excellence just as Carlo had that other Milan team a few years ago. Inter and Barca go to war today but the goals don’t happen as often as hoped. 2-1 Barca victory sees the Italians through on a 4-3 aggregate.