Pedro opened the scoring on 27 minutes, taking a Xavi through ball in stride and squeezing an inch perfect shot in between legendary keeper Edwin van der Sar. He was playing in his final match for United but let one in from the near post to give Barcelona the lead.
United would strike back 7 minutes later, as Wayne Rooney leathered a strike past a helpless Victor Valdes to level the score.
At halftime, United had a glimmer of hope
Then in the 54th minute, Messi had another career defining goal. Taking the ball from 20 yards out and smashing it past van der Sar. Messi went wild. Running towards the crowd with unrestrained jubilation. You’ll be hard pressed to find a goal where Messi had more emotion in his celebration.
Villa completed the scoring 15 minutes later with an exquisite shot in the upper right corner. All three of Barcelona’s front line had scored.
When the dust settled, Barcelona won 3-1. The score line flattered United.
Barcelona outshot them 19-4. 12 of Barca’s shots were on target. United’s only shot on target was their lone goal. They out possessed them 63% to 37%. United committed 16 fouls, and were caught offside 5 times.
Their stoic midfield, anchored by Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs, never stood a chance against Iniesta, Xavi, and Busquets, who dictated the game without breaking a sweat.
Ferguson knew it at the end
After the game, Sir Alex Ferguson proclaimed how Barcelona mesmerized his team with their passing ability. “Great teams do go in cycles and they’re at the peak of the cycle they’re in at the moment,” he said. Simply put, “they’re the greatest team in Europe, that’s for sure.”