Saturday’s Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United can easily be considered the biggest club match of all time. The last time these two famous teams played each other at such a competitive level was the 2009 final. But that was on a Wednesday evening. Now with the switch to a Saturday kick-off time, the viewing audience will be significantly larger. There has never been a bigger game between the two biggest clubs in the world.
Not only will this game be considered the biggest club match of all time based on TV ratings. But on the field, you have the best team in the world (Barcelona) competing against the best manager in the world (Sir Alex Ferguson). Who will ultimately succeed? We’ll find out on Saturday evening (2:45pm ET in the United States on FOX television).
The game will help answer the age old question regarding which is more influential — a great football manager or a great football team. There are plenty of theories that argue that a football manager is a mere pawn during a game who can make only limited decisions while the most influential changes can happen by the players themselves. How many times have you seen a manager set up a team perfectly but then is scored for a defeat despite the fact that one striker or two completely miss chance after chance in front of goal. A football manager is at the mercy of his players and will live and die by them.
This makes Saturday’s battle between Barcelona and Sir Alex Ferguson even more intriguing. On one hand you have soccer artisans such as Iniesta, Xavi, Messi and Villa, who play so perfectly it looks like you’re watching a real live game of FIFA 11. On the other hand, you have the mastery of Sir Alex Ferguson who will make one or two changes to his side that will often surprise you (and the opposition) but will often achieve success.
Speaking of success, Sir Alex Ferguson’s achievements include two Champions League trophies, 12 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cup winners, 1 UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup, 4 League Cups and several other trophies. He has the uncanny skill to pick the right players for the right positions. Many may not consider him the best tactician, but he does get the best out of his players and holds them to the highest standards.
So who will conquer on Saturday night? Will it be the best football team (Barcelona) or the best football manager (Sir Alex Ferguson)? Share your opinions in the comments section below.
Thank you to EPL Talk reader Denis Coombs for the story idea.