"I remember everything about that day because that is the day in football I treasure most." Daniel Alves
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Just as in 1992, Wembley provided the setting for FC Barcelona glory as they turned on the style to beat Manchester United FC 3-1 and claim their fourth European crown. The Catalan side were worthy winners, taking the lead through Pedro Rodríguez and responding to Wayne Rooney's equaliser with superb second-half strikes from Lionel Messi and David Villa.
However, as in the Rome final of 2009 when United lost to the same opponents, Sir Alex Ferguson's side had raced out of the blocks, with Víctor Valdés forced into urgent action to deny Rooney. Barcelona seemed edgy but soon clicked into gear and fashioned the first opening on the quarter-hour as Xavi Hernández drove in a low cross that Pedro turned wide.
Villa then flashed a shot off target before forcing a low save from Edwin van der Sar. Nemanja Vidić foiled Messi but, on 27 minutes, United were undone. Xavi was the architect, advancing and picking out Pedro with a diagonal pass. The winger's movement carried him clear of Vidić on the right and he applied a cool finish, side-footing into the near corner.
Just seven minutes later United scored a fine equaliser, their first and only attempt on target. After Barcelona had lost the ball from an Éric Abidal throw-in, Rooney surged forward, playing a one-two with Michael Carrick. He then slipped a pass to Ryan Giggs inside the area and met the Welshman's return with a superb curled finish.
Parity was short-lived. Although Van der Sar saved from Daniel Alves, Messi restored their advantage after 54 minutes, the Argentinian firing in from 20 metres. Messi could have had more goals as Barcelona went for the kill. Van der Sar denied him with his legs before Fabio kept out his back-heeled effort with a goal-line block.
Van der Sar, in his final appearance before retiring, offered a fitting reminder of his class with a full-length dive to foil Xavi but had no chance with Villa's exquisite curling effort after 69 minutes. Barcelona were on their Wembley way again.