Lions vs Men

It was the day we all had been waiting for.Everyone had witnessed the perfect build-up to one of the most prestigious titles in the football world,and the final had all the elements of a perfect and dramatic backdrop.Manchester United were taking on FC Barcelona.The likes of Ronaldo,Messi,Etto,Rooney,Henry,Xavi,Scholes were going to be on the same pitch.This was a gigantic clash,and there was no better venue than the stadio olympicio in the eternal city of Rome to decide the battle for king.
Let me lay out a little background for the newbies here.Europe is the heartthrob of world football,and in it are many leagues specific to a specific country.There is the English Premier League(EPL) in England,La Liga(Spanish Premiera) in Spain,Bundes Liga in Germany,the Serie-A of Italy and the dozens of Ligues in France among others.Each country has its own unique style of regarding the game.While English football boasts of frenzied fan-following,relatively rougher and more competitive gameplay,Spanish football is considered superior technically,especially in passing,and is a delight to watch for the critics.Each League boasts of stars,and there is a crowned champion after a gruelling months-long season.The UEFA Champions League is a competition among the top football clubs in Europe.The teams from different leagues play each other,and there is a champion-the best football club in Europe-and arguably,in the world.The UCL brings a crowning finale to the football season,and the clash of the titans is followed worldwide as one of the most watched sporting events.
The season this year had been all about the star-studded Barcelona.The team had impressed last year too,but elevated to show indomnitable finesse this year,riding on Lionel Messi's incredible talent,and displaying an awe-inspiring solidity in their gameplay.The 21-year old Messi was the newest sensation,hailed by Maradona himself as his rightful successor.Back in England,Manchester United were clinical as usual,staying on top of the EPL ratings with little discomfort,and outclassing other teams.Christiano Ronaldo was charismatic,and Sir Alex Fergusson watched.
Barca became the La-Liga champs,and there was a general buzz about them being the best european team currently.Their eyes rested on the Champions League now,determined to rub out the horrors of last years semifinal drubbing by Manchester United that stopped an equally amazing Barcelona run last season.If there was one team that could stand up tall to them again,it were the reigning champions-the Reds,Man-United,acknowledged by many as the best football club in the world,and by all as the most popular.Barca,on their crest,overran Chelsea in the semis to cruise into the final.United were'nt exactly in dream form this season,but still that team had enough mettle to top the EPL ratings and cruise into the UCL semifinal to clash against once arch-rivals Arsenal.Arsenal were'nt the same force now without Thierry Henry,Man-U's ardent devastator,who had lead his team single-handedly to victory many times-and United had little problems at Emirates,Arsenal's home ground to march into the finals with Ronaldo scoring two mesmerising goals.However.Henry,having moved to Barcelona last season,awaited them there,alongside the likes of Messi and Etto.The dream finale everone had wished for had been set up.Meanwhile,Man-U officially lifted the EPL cup once again.
The atmosphere in Rome on the eve of the match was nothing short of electric.It was the clash of the titans,a solid performer in Barca versus the charismatic legend of Man-U.Barca started the match as the critics' favourites,but United put all that to rest with some astonishing gameplay in the first 7-8 minutes,and as many as 5 attacks were made in that time in comparison to Barca's nil.
They say,however,that you cannot ignore form and consistency.Barca had both,and it was packed solid going into the final.Iniesta justified his craving to play the final despite his alleged injury,and created an opportunity for Etto in the 10th,and the Cameroon striker had no problems putting the ball out of Van Der Sar's reach.Barca had scored at their first opportunity.From then on,it was a different game altogether.United were trailing,and were curtailed.The passing elegance of Spanish football was showing,and United hardly ever got possession.Messi was here,there and everywhere.He ran through the famed Man-U defence with effortless ease.If it weren't for the usual brilliance of 37 year old Van Der Sar in nullifying many more attacks ,United could have been trailing beyond reach.The first half ended with Barcelona firmly in control.
Manchester United does not have the world's biggest fanbase without reason.The team has had amazing consistency,and their flair of coming back into lost encounters in legendary.United fans was hoping for a resurgence,and they weren't disappointed.The Red Devils took possession,and charged ceaselessly.However,the Bracelona defence which had come under a lot of flack,had things to prove tonight.The captain Puyol led from the front,and time after time,attack after attack broke down.There was a seriousness and class about the Barca of tonight.Ronaldo ran in,Rooney ran in,all in vain.Fergusson brought on Tevez in place of Anderson,hoping that the fiery Argentinian would lend even more teeth to the already brilliant forwards.Nothing happened.Time was running out,United were now trying desperate measures.Scholes came on in place of Giggs,Berbatov came in.However,if Barcelona were playing with conviction,it wasnt United's day either.Although they retrieved possession umpteen times,yet failed at the critical moments.Passes went haywire,scoring headshots missed,yellow cards given.The pressure was mounting.
And as if to symbolise it all,Messi happened.The striker had been on Man-U's toes all night,and finally got his chance.He converted a high pass into a headshot that zoomed through the air clearly past Van Der Sar's flying form and tucked comfortably into the top corner.Barca had scored again,thanks to the human wonder that was on his knees at that moment,eyes closed,facing the stars above the Roman sky.The goal took him to the highest scorer of the Champions League.It was an incredible shot from an incredible talent.And as if to counter it,Tevez charged in before Barca had stopped celebrating.It was a flash,a pass that could have turned around things,but it fell clear of a waiting Ronaldo.It was the night of reckoning:what Ronaldo had failed to do for United,Messi had done for Barca.
From then on,it was again Barca's show,intermittent with replays of the amazing Messi header,at which Barca fans cheered and cheered.United seemed clearly disspirited and outclassed,and when the ref blew the final whistle,there was a nothing more than a sigh at the United camps.They had lost a Champions League final for the first time,but as Sir Alex himself conceded in a post-match interview,they knew that they had been outplayed,by a clearly more disciplined team that had shown amazing gameplay the entire season.There were 3 English teams out of the final four yet England was quiet.while the Spanish newspapers screamed full font at their front pages."Tot Roma es un clam,Barça!Barça!Barça!"

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People nowadays are so busy taking others down,they have forgotten that the deal was to climb up themselves.

On third year,IITK..

And now the times are changing,
look at everything that's come and gone...

Keep looking back as the most eventful year at IITK draws to a close.From friends to academics,from matters at home to that of love,life chose extremes.Its no wonder why Sophomore time seems so juvenile now.The sheer baggage of the experiences in the last one year,I have seen myself being pushed to grow up and be wary of things rather abruptly.Gone are the days of thrills.Caution,calculative talks and keeping things to myself are newfound companions,and I don't know if I like it.This area is still not in my comfort zone,and a part of me wants to return back,only knowing that it is never gonna be possible.Life moves on.