When Lionel Messi outjumped Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic to head in Barcelona's second goal in the Champions League final against Manchester United late Wednesday night, it seemed as if time stood still. The smallest man on the pitch that night in Stadio Olimpico looked like he was suspended in air for a few seconds, hanging by an invisible thread whose other end was at tied to the finger of God himself, before he connected to Xavi's perfectly weighted cross from the right and placed it to Edwin van der Sar's left. It was like watching in freeze frame before it gets sucked in motion.Comparisons would be hard to find for this goal. The closest I could come to was the 2005 film Goal, when Santiago Munez scores the winner for the Magpies against Liverpool with that free-kick. Just before he takes the shot, time freezes, as it did the other night for Manchester United and millions of their fans worldwide.It was a combination of imaginative play, technical brilliance and Pep's reading that did enough damage to Sir Alex's proud record. He erred in not playing like Chelsea did against Barcelona in the semi-final -- a match even die hard Barca fans would admit was won by default.Allowing space to the dangerous Messi, who was shifted to the middle of the troika, whose other arms were Henry and Eto'o. With Iniesta and Xavi orchestrating the midfield and Puyol marshalling the defence from an unaccustomed right full back position, United looked completely out of depth, something they have rarely been these past few years. But Rome was different. Barca and Pep took football out of the confines of the drawing room into the realms of poetry. That's what it was that night, a poetry in motion.
A page from Rajinikanth's diary
3 weeks ago