Saturday 30 July 2011. KO: 19:00 local time.
FedExField, Washington DC. Capacity: 91,704.
The reigning Spanish champions, who are widely regarded outside Manchester as the best team on the planet, were founded in 1899 in Catalonia after a Swiss footballer put an advert in a magazine seeking players. Barcelona have since grown into one of the world’s biggest clubs, racking up 21 La Liga titles, 25 Spanish Cups and four European Cup/Champions Leagues.
Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola, a former player who was in the Barcelona side that won the club’s first European Cup in 1992. After hanging up his boots he managed Barcelona B - Barca's reserve side - before getting promotion to the big job in 2008. And he made some start, winning everything there was to win: the Spanish league, cup and league cup, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. He followed that up with a second La Liga title last year and in May 2011 led Barca to the La Liga and Champions League double.
Where do you start? You could talk about the geometric beauty of Xavi and Iniesta’s passing, but the real jewel in the crown is little Lionel Messi. The Argentine is simply the best player in the world, a mesmeric dribbler, ingenious creator and prolific goalscorer.