Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It's Up for Grabs Now

It is the day of the Champions League Final - and with the two best technical players in the world facing off, let's get right to the hyperbole. Simon Barnes:
"Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry on the same pitch, competing for the greatest prize in club football: it is a wonderful prospect, not just for the number of goals they might score, but also for the nature of the goals they might score. The setting of the Champions League final seems to demand from either — or even both — a masterpiece. We crave, we almost expect, a goal of such sublime perfection that we will talk about it for the rest of our lives.

And that is the thing that gives the expectation of this match its unique savour: the feeling that the presence of one might inspire the other to reach beyond even those lofty things he has already managed. It is like Bach v Mozart, each seeking to please the ear, Monet v Matisse, each seeking to please the eye. But in fact, it’s Ronaldinho v Henry, each seeking to beguile the footballing senses."

Bach v. Mozart - love it. The comparison to last year is inevitable, of course. The powerhouse European team with a litany of world class names versus an underdog English squad relying on its one incomparable superstar and a stingy defence. Substitute Barca for AC Milan and Arsenal for Liverpool - and we remember how brilliant last season's final turned out.

Arsenal, incredibly, have not conceded a goal in the Champions League since the 27th of September, and this is only the third time since the competition began in 1992 that two undefeated teams are to meet in the final. Should be an absolute cracker, especially if Arsenal somehow manage the first goal. Met an English guy named Matthew at the hostel in Maui who was trying desperately to book tickets online for the show - wonder if he makes it... Surely Hornby will be there.

All that's left is the anticipation until kick-off. Will Ronaldinho begin cementing his case as one of the greatest to ever play the game? Will Henry rise to the occasion and give the legion of Arsenal supporters moments of heroism a la Michael Thomas in 1989? Answers soon.


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