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Barcelona vs Manchester United – The Greatest Goals


Barcelona vs Manchester United – The Greatest Goals

Barcelona take on Manchester United in the Europa League this week, with the first leg at the Camp Nou taking place on Thursday, and the return fixture taking place back in Manchester next week.

There is a fair bit of history behind this fixture, with the two sides having previously met in not one, but two Champions League finals, as well as a European Cup Winners Cup final in 1991. Both sides have experienced sustained periods of domination over their domestic leagues – they have won 46 domestic league titles between them, not to mention the countless other pieces of silverware. Truly, it is a meeting of heavyweights.

Now there have been exactly 13 matches between these two since they first met back in 1984, and a total of 39 goals have come from those 13 matches in both the UEFA Cup Winners Cup and Champions League. So in light of their upcoming meeting, we are going to run through 10 of the best goals to have been scored in this fixture…

10) Andy Cole – Barcelona 3-3 Man Utd, 1998

The second of two 3-3 draws played out between the Red Devils and the Blaugrana in the 1998/99 Champions League, two of the goals scored in this particular match feature on this list. Matchday five of the Champions League group stages saw a masterclass in clinical finishing at the Camp Nou, with braces from both Rivaldo and Dwight Yorke.

But, it was Yorke’s strike partner Andy Cole who scored arguably United’s best goal of the night, with a slick passing move resulting in Cole’s goal that gave United a 2-1 lead. A pass from midfield was dummied by Yorke and thus collected by Cole, who played a pass back to Yorke. The Trinidad international’s quick return pass left Samuel Okunowo out of position and Cole with a clear sight of goal. Cole steadied himself with a touch, before dispatching his shot into the bottom right corner past goalkeeper Ruud Hesp.

9) Wayne Rooney – Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd, 2011

It looked to be a long night for Man United when Pedro gave Barcelona the lead after 27 minutes in the 2011 Champions League final, with United fans memories surely straightaway turning to when Samuel Eto’o scored early on in the 2009 final between these two sides. And ultimately, it would turn out to be a long night for both United fans and players alike, with Barcelona dominating proceedings over the 90 minutes.

However, unlike in 2009, the Red Devils did muster some response to going a goal down, in the form of Wayne Rooney. The Englishman drew his side level just seven minutes after Pedro’s opener, and, tellingly, it was United’s only attempt on target in the entire game. Rooney picked up the ball near the touchline and played a one-two with Michael Carrick, driving forward to the Barcelona box after the return. A pass to Ryan Giggs in the box saw a return back to Rooney from the Welshman, with Rooney superbly finishing first-time past Victor Valdes to draw United level.

8) David Villa – Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd, 2011

David Villa scored the final goal of the game when United met Barcelona in 2011’s Champions League final, putting the gloss on what had been a shining performance by the Blaugrana.

Villa’s goal came 15 minutes after Lionel Messi’s goal had put Barcelona back in front, and his finish from the edge of the box put the game to bed with 20 minutes still left to play. Receiving the ball from Sergio Busquets on the edge of the D, Villa took a touch before letting fly with an exquisite curling effort that Edwin van der Sar could do nothing about.

7) Lionel Messi – Barcelona 3-0 Man Utd, 2019

It was Lionel Messi who inspired Barcelona to a 4-0 aggregate win over Manchester United in the 2018/19 Champions League quarter-finals, with Messi’s brace in the second leg helping Barcelona through to the semi-finals.

Luke Shaw’s own goal was all that separated the two sides heading into the second leg, but that all changed after just 16 minutes. Picking up the ball after Ashley Young had lost possession to Ivan Rakitic, the Argentine nutmegged midfielder Fred and advanced more centrally before coolly curling home an effort into the bottom corner that David de Gea could do nothing about. Just four minutes later, Messi added a second after a De Gea error, and the tie was effectively finished.

6) Lionel Messi – Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd, 2011

Lionel Messi’s 54th-minute goal put Barcelona back in the lead in the 2011 Champions League final, and it was one of the Argentinian’s best goals of the many that he has scored in finals throughout his storied career.

Receiving the ball from Andres Iniesta in midfield, the superstar lashed home an effort from around 20 yards out with his left foot that flew past Edwin van der Sar, who despite all his best efforts, was not able to get a hand on it. Patrice Evra’s attempt to block the shot was fruitless, as was Nemanja Vidic, the Serbian left static as the sheer speed and power of the shot took the ball past him. It was a goal worthy of the occasion, and one that set Barcelona on the way to what would be their fourth European crown.

5) Juan Carlos Rojo – Barcelona 2-0 Man Utd, 1984

The first-ever meeting between these two clubs took place in 1984, when they did battle at the Camp Nou in the first leg of a European Cup Winners Cup quarter-final tie.

An own goal from Graeme Hogg gave Barcelona the lead after just over half an hour of action, and Barcelona would later add a second as the match drew to a close. A one-two on the edge of the box set the ball up nicely for left-winger Rojo to smash home a thunderous effort in the final minute. United would famously go on to triumph 3-0 in the second leg however and would face Juventus in the next round.

4) Rivaldo – Barcelona 3-3 Man Utd, 1998

In the second meeting between these two sides in the 1998/99 Champions League group stages, there was one man who stood out ahead of the rest – Rivaldo.

The Brazilian had an outstanding game as he scored twice and almost grabbed an astonishing third, with a thunderous effort from 30 yards out unfortunately striking the crossbar. And ultimately, Barcelona would crash out at the group stages that year, with both Bayern and United progressing through to the knockout stage ahead of them, but Rivaldo’s goals and overall performance should not be forgotten.

Rivaldo’s first goal was a fine free-kick from range in the 57th minute to draw Barcelona level, albeit through some questionable Peter Schmeichel goalkeeping. His second goal was also an equalizer and the best of the night, coming just 5 minutes after a 68th-minute Dwight Yorke header. Left-back Sergi floated in a cross from the edge of the area, which Rivaldo jumped up to meet with his chest before planting the ball into the bottom corner with a stunning overhead kick.

3) David Beckham – Man Utd 3-3 Barcelona, 1998

David Beckham scored an astonishing 65 free kicks across his entire career, with 29 of those free kicks coming during his time in a Red Devils shirt. And in a 1998 Champions League group-stage tie, Beckham scored one of his best.

Both meetings between United and Barca that season produced a six-goal thriller, with a 3-3 draw both at home and in the away fixture. The first clash, being played at Old Trafford, saw United go in at half time 2-0 up. Goals from Sonny Anderson (47’) and Giovanni (60’) got Barcelona back into the tie, but David Beckham’s intervention ensured that their comeback had lasted just four minutes.

The Englishman stepped up and dispatched an unstoppable free-kick past Ruud Hesp and into the top corner to put his side ahead again. Barcelona would score just seven minutes later to draw level again, but that ultimately wouldn’t matter – United would go on to beat Bayern 2-1 in that year’s final at the Nou Camp of all places.

2) Philippe Coutinho – Barcelona 3-0 Man Utd, 2019

Philippe Coutinho’s second-half stunner wrapped up a simple 3-0 win for Barcelona in a Champions League quarter-final tie with Manchester United, with the tie ultimately finishing 4-0 on aggregate.

Just after the hour mark, the imperious Lionel Messi’s long diagonal ball forward was met by Jordi Alba, who played the ball backwards first time to Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian picked up the ball and after two touches to shift the ball onto his right side, unleashed a sensational curled effort from distance. It was the type of goal that we had all been accustomed to seeing so often in the Premier League, and it capped off what had been a fine Barcelona showing on the night.

1) Paul Scholes – Man Utd 1-0 Barcelona, 2008

Manchester United have picked up three European Cups, winning their first European Cup in 1968 and picking up their other two under the Champions League banner in both 1999 and 2008. And 2008 was a season to remember for the Red Devils, winning both the Premier League and Champions League.

Key to their European success was midfielder Paul Scholes, whose solitary goal across the two semi-final legs was enough to get United into what was their third European Cup final. Just 14 minutes into a tense second leg, Scholes picked up a poor clearance from Gianluca Zambrotta and after taking an initial touch, let fly from distance. The ball sailed high into the far corner, leaving a scrambling Victor Valdes with no chance. Man United would hold on to make it through to the final, which they would end up winning on penalties.