Ready for the last hurrah
Billed as “the biggest club game of the year”, soccer fans around the world will gather around televisions sets for the last hurrah of the season when Barcelona take on Juventus in the Uefa Champions League final on Saturday.
Both Italy’s Juventus and Spain’s Barcelona are chasing the treble, having convincingly won their respective leagues and cup competitions. Now, two of the biggest clubs in Europe have an opportunity to bring back the glory of soccer after the recent upheavals surrounding Fifa.
Indo-Asian News Service reports that Barcelona’s Argentine star Lionel Messi underlined that his teammates “have suffered a lot” to finally reach the Uefa Champions League final, and so he is thinking only about this clash.
“It is a Champions League final and we have suffered a lot to get here. We know that it won’t be easy to be champions again,” Messi told Uefa’s media service.
“We are playing against a very difficult and powerful opponent. It is a final where anything can happen, but we will prepare in the same way we did for the previous finals,” Messi said. He recalled his two goals scored in the two finals of the Champions League against Manchester United in Rome (2009) and London (2011), which were decisive in the team’s victory.
“They are very significant parts of my career. The first one because we practically finished the game and were lifting the cup at 2-0. The second one because it made it 2-1 at a point where the game was well-balanced and that is why I celebrated so wildly,” he explained. He promised that Barca would prepare to its best capability for the final.
Barcelona forward Neymar will miss Brazil’s Copa America warm-up game against Mexico on Sunday due to the Champions League final, the country’s football federation said.The 23-year-old will join his national teammates after Barcelona’s clash with Juventus in the Uefa Champions League final in Berlin.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini says he will shake hands with Barcelona forward Luis Suarez when they meet for the first time since the biting incident at last year’s World Cup.
Suarez was banned for four months for biting Chiellini on the shoulder during Uruguay’s final group match against Italy. But ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final, Chiellini said: “Of course I will (shake hands). I’ll hug him happily, too. There’s no problem at all.”
Saturday’s final will mark the 60th season of Europe’s premier club football tournament organised by Uefa. The winner will earn the right to play against winners of the 2014/15 Uefa Europa League champions Sevilla in the 2015 Uefa Super Cup.