Why Lionel Messi and Barcelona will beat Juventus to win the Champions League title

Lionel Messi is in prime form, and it will be hard to stop him in his quest to win his club's fifth European Cup, writes Andy Mitten.

Lionel Messi has scored 58 goals in 50 matches across all competitions for Barcelona this season. Alex Caparros / Getty Images
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Barcelona will win a fifth European Cup in Berlin on Saturday night because they are a better team, with superior players, than their opponents Juventus.

There is always an element of doubt in football, which is why hundreds of millions will watch to see what happens between two teams chasing a treble.

But while this Barca side is not only blessed with the individual talents equal to Brazil’s great side of the 1982 World Cup, unlike them it has a focus and determination to realise that the result is everything.

Luis Enrique is a sure manager. Sure of his team, his XI is settled and he knows what he wants each member of it to do.

He has managed in Italy and come up against Juventus when he was in charge of Roma. He has played against Italy for Spain and against Juventus as a Barcelona player.

At 45, Enrique has a wily head on relatively young shoulders and his side are playing better than any other in the world at present.

They have a cohesion and confidence that are lacking in Juve, they have a plan B – and a plan C – if things do not go as anticipated.

They do not have injuries. They do have an unsurpassed attacking three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, with 120 goals between them already this term.

Barca have world-class players just happy to be on the bench – even Claudio Bravo, their substitute goalkeeper, was the best in Spain this season.

Barca also boast players who have been in – and won – Uefa Champions League finals.

They also have Messi – back to being the world’s finest player – in tremendous form.

When noises came from the Juventus camp this week that he would not have scored in Europe the type of individual goal he managed in the Copa del Rey final, where he beat four opponents, Messi’s teammates were quick to counter.

“Leo could have scored that goal in any competition,” Sergio Busquets said.

“Athletic is a great team and great defenders, but Messi is the best player in the world. Whatever league he played in he could have done the same, he unbalances opponents.”

Messi will be motivated to show that he can stand out and top a magnificent second half of the season. He has 58 goals this season to Cristiano Ronaldo’s 61, but Messi has the team trophies in the bag and is the clear favourite for the 2015 Ballon d’Or.

Barca have already knocked the champions of England, France and Germany out of the Champions League.

A one-off game is not to their advantage, but they will beat the champions of Italy as well.


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