Twitter reacts to Barcelona’s Champions League win over Juventus

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Barcelona claimed a fifth European crown beating Juventus in Berlin.

Twitter reacts to Barcelona’s stunning 3-1 victory over Juventus in the Champions League final. 

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Wayne Rooney urges Grealish to choose England over Ireland

Paul Hirst 7/06/2015
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Divided loyalty: Grealish.

Wayne Rooney insists he never considered playing for the Republic of Ireland and he does not think Jack Grealish should do so either.

– REPORT: Barca beat Juventus to clinch Champions League
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On the eve of England’s friendly in Dublin, Rooney was at pains to emphasise there will be no divided loyalties when he leads the Three Lions out at the Aviva Stadium.

Rooney’s paternal grandparents are Irish and his wife Coleen, whose maiden name was McLoughlin, is also of Irish descent. The couple’s first son Kai embraced his Irish roots by donning a full Republic of Ireland kit on St Patrick’s Day three years ago, but there is no mistaking where his father’s loyalties lie.

For that reason, the England captain will have no problem putting Martin O’Neill’s team to the sword today.

“I am English through and through and I have no issue with trying to beat Ireland,” the England striker said. “I am playing for England and I want to help England win.”

Rooney had the option to play for the Republic through his grandparents, but he insists the possibility never crossed his mind – not even when the Football Association of Ireland made a beeline for him when he was a 16-year-old.

And Rooney thinks Grealish, who qualifies for the Republic through a grandfather who hails from County Dublin, should follow suit.

The Aston Villa midfielder has played for the Republic at Under-17, Under-18 and Under-21 level, but turned out for England before that, according to Roy Hodgson.

The fact that the 19-year-old was born in Solihull in the West Midlands means he should play for England in Rooney’s mind.

He said: “It’s down to him. I’m a firm believer that the country you are born in is who you should play for, but the rules are the rules. “It’s down to him to make the decision, better sooner than later.”

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Barcelona emerge as worthy Champions League winners

Andy West 7/06/2015
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Victorious: Barcelona.

Barcelona proved worthy winners but it was a match that followed two different patterns: order and chaos.

– REPORT: Barca beat Juventus to clinch Champions League
– #UCLfinal: Suarez and Rakitic hail ‘incredible’ debut Barca season
– #360LIVE: Relive Barcelona’s Champions League glory in Berlin
– Football: ValuraFutbol and Sport360 let YOU rate the players

In the first half, the Catalans dominated possession and Juventus tried to hit them on the counter-attack. But it became a very different encounter after the break – stretched, open and at times lacking any real structure.

In both games within the game, Barca came out on top. They controlled the flow of the action in the opening period and then, despite regularly looking in danger of conceding, relied upon their awesome attacking capabilities in the second.

Whereas Barca were expected to break down Juventus’ tight defence with combination play between their front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, in fact the early opening goal came through a quite different source.

Firstly, Luis Enrique’s side showed great patience in their midfield build-up, gently but persistently probing for spaces until the chance came thanks to two perfectly timed runs from midfield: Andres Iniesta surged into the box to receive Neymar’s pass, and then Ivan Rakitic advanced ahead of Paul Pogba to sweep home.

That goal proved to be illustrative of much of the first half’s action, with another clear chance coming in a similar manner when Dani Alves ghosted into the area to fire a shot which Gigi Buffon did very well to save.

Alves and fellow full-back Jordi Alba were receiving plenty of possession as Barca carried out much of their build-up play in wide areas, but the goal threat largely came from runs into central areas – either from Neymar or Messi cutting inside or midfielders breaking from deep, with Juve’s 4-4-2 formation often leaving them outnumbered in the middle.

To stop their confident opponents, Juve resorted to tactical fouls, attempting to exert their aggression and stop Barca’s rhythm. But that left their two midfield powerhouses, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba, both booked before half-time – at one point just before the break, Messi had possession and appeared to be goading them, daring them to make a tackle which could have resulted in a red card.

Juve’s only attacking threat in the first-half came from counterattacks, but when they did go forward they always looked dangerous against a hesitant Barca back-four which frequently yielded space around the penalty area.

The Catalan defence was shaky from the very first minute, when two errors in quick succession deep inside their own half led to a shooting opportunity and then a corner for the Bianconeri.

So, even though Barca had hugely dominated possession in the first half, it wasn’t a complete surprise when Juve equalised early in the second as their increasing willingness to throw players into the penalty area was rewarded when Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s parry fell straight to Alvaro Morata.

As the game became stretched, that fell into Barca’s hands and gave their attacking trio more space to create their magic. And so it proved when Messi’s individual ability came to the fore with a surging run and powerful shot for Suarez to restore his team’s lead.

Enrique brought on Xavi in an attempt to exert more control but the game was lacking shape as Juve became more desperate, introducing powerful centre forward Fernando Llorente for Morata in the final stages to illustrate their direct approach.

Juve’s ability to create chances continued, with several opportunities to force additional time narrowly passing them by. But they were also obviously vulnerable to counter-attacks, and the full-pitch break which resulted in Neymar’s late third had been threatened for a long time.

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