Nobody wants to write this. Nobody wants to even think about writing this. I didn't want to even think about writing this when Juventus fell behind 1-0 after just three minutes and change. Yet we're stuck here writing this because of what just happened in front of our eyes, a 3-1 Barcelona win over Juventus in the Champions League final.
The favorite beat the underdog. The €80-something million summer signing full of controversy and so much vitriol got Barcelona the winning goal it so desperately wanted. It was, well, as cliche as it sounds, one of those games where the better team one.
In the end, Barcelona proved to be the machine they have been both domestically and in Europe all season long. Try as hard as Juventus did, it proved that it wasn't enough. It looked like it might be when Álvaro Morata scored against yet another Spanish opponent, but Juventus could never get the lead at any point of the second when it looked as though they might.
And as was pointed out on Twitter by Michael Cox of Zonal Marking fame, Barcelona's first two goals came as Juve were starting to play really, really well. This game isn't nice to us sometimes.
Allegri impressive and dignified in press conference here. "They were extraordinary, and we were not able to contain them," he says of Barca— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) June 6, 2015
It is disappointing to come this far and end up going home with a second-place medal. We can say "Regardless of the result I am proud of my team!" all we want, but there's going to be disappointment when it comes to a game you thought your team could have been one. Am I proud of Juventus? Hell yeah I am proud of Juventus. Am I disappointed that Juventus failed to score a second goal when they had clear chances to do so? Of course.
But Barcelona were better than Juventus on Saturday night. That's the easiest way to say it, I guess. This isn't the end of Juventus' journey and the end of the club's run of success by any means. Juventus' roster will look different next season because that's just the nature of the beast. If you're not excited to see Paulo Dybala wear a Juve jersey next season, then you might want to see what he did at Palermo this season and the reassess things.
Getting to this point of the Champions League was a wonderful accomplishment and completely unexpected 11 months ago. That would have been the case even with the manager who is no longer the manager at Juventus. That's why Juventus should leave with their head held high. And also the fact that they gave the best team in the freaking world a pretty darn good run for their money in Berlin.
I'm sure a lot of other clubs would love to "settle" for a domestic double.
Random thoughts and observations
- So proud of this team — for the game they just played and the season they just finished They made it a game when people were counting them out four minutes in. That's Juventus, that's the famed grinta, that's what this team has proven to be all season long. Nothing about this season was easy. Nothing.
- At the age of 37, Gianluigi Buffon was easily one of the best players on the Olympiastadion field on Saturday. If you were to comprise a ranking of Buffon's greatest saves, I wonder where his left-handed swat as he went the opposite direction in the first half ranks on the list. That was an absolute thing of beauty for a guy who has a thing for making top-class saves during finals in Berlin.
Best in the damn game. Still. At the age of 37. I believe you can also spell that G-O-D.
- Just a personal opinion, but I like the Uruguayan on Juventus' roster more than the one Barcelona has. That's just me, though, so feel free to think otherwise.
- Within about a three-minute span, Dani Alves hauled Paul Pogba down in the box like he was trying to tackle a running back and then went crashing into a referee on purpose as he argued Neymar's non-goal. He was not disciplined for either of these things. You learn something new everyday, I guess. (But just remember that Juventus gets all the calls.)
- Álvaro Morata in the knockout round of the Champions League this season: Seven games played, five goals scored. And what were Real Madrid fans saying about Morata not being a big-game player? I seem to have forgotten...
- Claudio Marchisio closed out a great season with another fantastic showing. That pass that lead to Morata's goal, just everything that he continues to add to this team and the midfield. The match commentator here started talking about how Marchisio is trying to get things in order during a first-half free kick and could only just nod my head and think "That's Claudio." He's as smart of a tactical player as we've seen put on a Juventus jersey in a long time. I'll be watching the video of that pass for weeks.
- Arturo Vidal racked up fouls like they were going out of style in the first half. Talk about a guy coming in way, way too ramped up for his own good. You want Vidal to play with tons of energy and do his usual thing — tackle, tackle and more tackle — but not so much to the point where he's risking getting sent off with every tackle he commits. It was a bad and forgettable game for Vidal, who had been so good the last couple months of the season. No doubt about it.
- If this does end up being Andrea Pirlo's last game with Juventus, I just have two words for him: Thank you. That's all.
- Fino Alla Fine.