With Everyone eagerly awaiting the Champions League knock-out stages draw that took place on Friday, it was easy to forget that another important tournament was going on in the United Arab Emirates.
The FIFA World Club Championships that have been going on for the past one week came to a close with the favourites Barcelona lifting the trophy for the first time. Yet again it was their sensational wizard Lionel Messi who stepped up to the plate to hand his side an extra time goal that was enough to see off their opponents Estudiantes, who ironically hail from Messi’s home country Argentina.
Barca’s goals came late in the game and they were in danger of missing out on a 6th piece of silverware before Messi scored in the 110 minute to ease their nerves. Estudiantes were the first to score in the 37th minute thanks to their striker Mauro Boselli who headed the ball past Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
It looked like the Argentine’s were headed for victory until the Catalans equalised in the 88th minute when another of their rising talents Pedro Rodriguez scored through a header. The match went into extra time and who else could spare Barca the blushes but their “World Player of the Year” – Lionel Messi.
This victory rounds off an amazing 2009 for Barcelona. By wining the La Liga, Champions League, Copa del Rey, the European Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup, Barcelona are indeed the club of the year. This last victory will surely cement Messi’s bid as the best player of the year when the FIFA gala ceremony takes place on Monday night.
Barca’s draw for the knock-out stages of the champions league was yet again very favourable to them and it is certain that they will make it through to the quarter finals unless a bad miracle (if there is anything like that) happens. Stuttgart are no real threat to Barcelona’s fluid, graceful football. I therefore advise the German club to give this fixture their best because they have nothing to lose.