On this day in 2011: Barcelona beat Manchester United in Champions League final

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Barcelona beat Manchester United 3-1 in the Champions League final at Wembley on this day in 2011 to register their fourth victory in the competition thanks to a Lionel Messi masterclass.

Coach Pep Guardiola won his second European Cup as a manager in three years after a dominant performance from his side.

Barca reached the final after defeating El Clasico rivals Real Madrid in the last four, with United sweeping aside Schalke 6-1 in their semi-final.

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring Barcelona's second goal in the 2011 Champions League final
A Lionel Messi masterclass saw Barcelona beat Manchester United at Wembley (Nick Potts/PA)

The Catalan club outplayed United in the first half, enjoying 68 per cent possession and having 22 shots, but were still level at half-time as Pedro’s opener was cancelled out by Wayne Rooney, who side-footed home from 15 yards after a one-two with Ryan Giggs.

Barcelona’s dominance continued after the break with Messi, who moments earlier had seen a shot cleared off the line by Patrice Evra, firing in a low shot from 25 yards.

Messi’s dribbling then caused panic in the United defence and David Villa capitalised to whip a shot into the top corner from just outside the penalty area and secure Barcelona’s third Champions League title in six years.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is thrown into the air by his players after victory in the 2011 Champions League final
Guardiola won his second Champions League in three years as a manager (Nick Potts/PA)

Eric Abidal, who had undergone surgery only two months earlier to remove a tumour in his liver, was given the honour of wearing the captain’s armband during the trophy presentation ceremony and he was the first player to lift the trophy.

After the match Guardiola hailed Messi as “the best player I have ever seen” while United boss Sir Alex Ferguson conceded: “In my time as manager it is the best team we have faced.”

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