The match was supposed to showcase the strength of each of the two sides, Manchester United and Barcelona FC. Instead, the battle appeared to be a clash between a conscious group of warriors (Barcelona) and a mentally wounded Red army (Manchester United).
How the Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United unfolded
Barcelona started the game on a bad note with Valdez showing signs of nervousness at the back. For exactly ten minutes, the Red Devils were threatening with constant attacks. Ronaldo struck an excellent free-kick from 30 yards which almost caught Barcelonaâ€™s goalkeeper Victor Valdez. Positioned as a striker on the pitch, the World Player of the Year managed to have some good cracks on goal.
With six minutes gone down the clock, Ronaldo tried his luck again with a long range effort quite similar to his wonder strike against FC Porto. But the ball flew wide, allowing Victor Valdez to breathe at last. The Portuguese winger also gave another scare to the Blaugrana with a low shot from inside the 18-yard box. But the unlucky aceâ€™s ball just couldnâ€™t roll across the line.
But the devastating moment soon came when Manchester United were caught on the counterattack led by Barcelona’s Iniesta. Etoâ€™o was there to punish the Red Devils and give Barcelona the lead after just ten minutes, squeezing the ball past Van der Sar and ultimately into the net.
From there, Manchester United were only chasing shadows. The Red Devils â€“ dressed in an all-white kit on the night â€“ just werenâ€™t able to show up their real character of champions.
Manchester Unitedâ€™s midfield were brushed away by Barcelonaâ€™s men, which came as a huge blow to Ronaldo upfront who was looking for balls. Barcelona had won the war of possession; Manchester Unitedâ€™s spirits were down.
Ronaldo got few chances though, but his strength in the air was overpowered by Carlos Puyol might. Either his headers will go wide, or he wonâ€™t succeed in connecting the crosses.
At a point in the first half, Manchester United were just about to equalize when Ronaldo blinded Barcelonaâ€™s defense as he broke through. However, his terrific run was eventually stopped by Gerard Pique and the former Manchester United defender received a worthy yellow card.
But then in all, Manchester United never posed any serious threat of pulling a goal back. It seemed like they had no fire in their bellies, no tonic in the pot.
And then, the devastating moment: Cristiano Ronaldoâ€™s challenger, Lionel Messi, raised high above everyone to complete a cross by Xavi from the right wing with an awesome header. The ball flew high and hard, beating Van der Sar in the process. At 2-0, the Red Devils had been deeply wounded and completely devastated.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the strength of a man
Ronaldo struggled to contain his frustration at losing in what he branded as the biggest game of the season. He became harsh on the ball and was guilty of bad tackles against Puyol especially. Ronaldo finally received a deserved yellow card. The Portuguese Star winger knew his dream of making history with Manchester United had come to an end.
The final whistle wasnâ€™t far away though, meaning that Manchester United had been defeated by Barcelona in the final of the Champions League in Rome.
Cristiano Ronaldo stayed on the pitch like the rest of the players, waiting for his medal. A face of disgust and sorrow painted with boldness and the desire to come back strongerâ€¦ this is what Ronaldo showed as the atmosphere was filled with grief on one side, and joyfulness on another.
This is a behavior from Cristiano Ronaldo that will comfort his grieving fans. The 24-year-old is no more the little chap that used to burst in tears in dejecting moments. He is now the man that will rise up after being brought down, with inner tears making him stronger.
Unfortunately, no goals to talk about for Ronaldo, nothing for Manchester United either. It is surely over for the reigning World Player of the Year. Messi certainly will come next as the king of the world.
But bad moments in life can also make you stronger. Ronaldo might be back next season!
Watch highlights of Barcelona v Manchester United here:
Written by: Angela Asante