Inter´s defense proves to be too strong for Barça
The FC Barcelona-FC INternazionale Milano match was one of the most hyped up matches of the year. As the semi-final, it would decide which team made it to the Champions League final in Madrid. After losing 3-1 in the first leg in Milan the pressure was on Barcelona to step up their game, and with the home team advantage their fans were sure they could do it.
There was a crowd of 91,000 at the stadium and thousands of others across the city that spent the day donning Barça colors and with posters and flags displayed in a show of support. Unfortunately, their dream of winning the Championship League for a second year in the row was dashed. Barça beat Milan 1-0, but the win was bittersweet as it left the team 1 point short of the 2-0 score needed in order to advance to the final.
Inter´s strategy was an obvious one, and a very good one. After beating Barça 3-1 in Milan they only thing they had to do was defend, and that they did. And quite spectacularly, it has to be said, given that they were 1 man short for more than an hour of the match.
Early in the match things seemed to be going well for Barça. Inter was reduced to 10 men when Thiago Motta was given a red card and expelled from the game for pushing his hand into Sergio Busquet´s face. Not only that, but Barça dominated possession throughout the match. Still, it was difficult for the team to break through the staunch defense of Inter and create opportunities. The counterattacking tactics of Inter meant that Inter often had all nine men behind the ball.
Barça worked hard to break through the defense, and finally Lionel Messi attempted to score with a curling shot in the 32nd minute. Barça fans were already out of their seats and ready to cheer when Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar made an incredibly impressive save with a one-handed dive.
In the second half Barça was again constantly in possession. Still, they didn´t manage to create any clear opportunities to score until the 82nd minute, when Xavi passed to Piqué who in turn sent the ball home for the first goal of the game with just six minutes left on the clock.
Barça pushed hard for the 2nd goal which would have sent them to the final, and fans were sure they had it when Bojan sent one into the net. But the cheers and horns of Barça fans quickly turned to boos and jeers when the goal was ruled out for a handball by Yaya Toure earlier in the play. Barça persisted, but with so little time left on the clock they were unable to create a good opportunity to score, and finally the game ended with just one goal.
Inter was, of course, euphoric about the victory. The team has not gone to a Championship League final since 1972. Upon hearing the final whistle the coach, Jose Mourinho, ran across the pitch with one arm raised to celebrate in front of the Inter fans. He later told the press that the game has been “the best loss of [his] life” and encouraged their fans back home to meet them at the airport for a welcome home party to recognize their efforts
Barça coach Pep Guardiola said in his statement to the press that the team was not looking for excuses, but that “sometimes attacking seems a lot harder than defending”. While clearly disappointed, he also noted his team had played very well, and that overall this Championship League had been a success.
FC INternazionale Milano will meet Bayern Munich at the Champions League final in Madrid on May 22. Meanwhile, Bayern will appeal against a three-match ban that was imposed on Franck Ribery and which would rule him out of the final.
If you’re planning a holiday in Barcelona, football and Les Corts may well be on your planned itinerary. The area of Les Corts is generally considered to be one of the doorways or gateways into Barcelona itself, as it is right at one end of the Diagonal Avenue, which is the longest road in Barcelona, crossing the entire city.
The district itself is extremely quiet and it’s also known as one of the safest neighborhoods in Barcelona. Though I have to admit there are few things to see for tourists. However, if you’re planning a holiday here and you’re bringing children, particularly young children, then this would be a nice place to stay away from crowded city centre.
Of course, without doubt one of the main reasons why many people come to Les Corts is the football, both the stadium itself and the museum and exhibitions. The main football stadium of the Barcelona Football Club is Camp Nou, although you’ll rarely hear it called that round here. The locals refer to it as simply as Barça.
The first of these exhibitions is the Museu Historic, and it is here that you can learn all about the history of the football club, with many fascinating posters and photographs, interesting memorabilia and content which will be of interest to children and adults alike.
This stadium is huge - in fact it’s the largest football stadium anywhere in Europe, with seating for a staggering 100,000 spectators. Despite this incredible number of seats, tickets are still very hard to get for the major games. Imagine chanting the team along with 99,999 other avid supporters! The atmosphere here on the day of a big match is electric.
Of course, if you’re planning on a quiet holiday to Barcelona and staying at Les Corts, then you would be wise to check whether there are any important matches on first. If you want to see Barça in action, and experience the stadium at its most intense, then this would be a great opportunity. On the other hand, if you’re expecting a quiet, leafy little suburb to amble down with your two small children, and suddenly tens of thousands of people start pouring past you, cheering and whooping, you might wonder what’s going on!
For football fans, it isn’t just the stadium itself which is the appeal. The Barcelona football museum nearby is a treasure trove for the football enthusiast. Not only does the museum allow access to the empty stadium itself, an experience which most small boys will treasure, but includes three very large and well stocked exhibitions.
The second exhibition here is the El Fons D’Art, and perhaps surprisingly, this actually has nothing to do with football! If you’re an art lover, then this really will be a surprise, and well worth visiting. It is here that many really great works of art can be found, including some by Dali and Miro. The third exhibition is more football related again, and includes the world’s largest collection of football memorabilia and curios dating from the 19th century right up to the present day.
While you are enjoying your holiday in Barcelona, I would also suggest that if you are in the Les Corts district, take time to visit the fabulous Monastir de Pedralbes. I would suggest this for two reasons. The first is simply to enjoy the lavish neighborhood. This really is a posh place to live! You won’t be surprised to learn that this is the most luxurious area of Barcelona, with incredible high-class mansions and historic homes.
But the second reason why I would suggest visiting Monastir de Pedralbes is the stunning 14th century stone monastery. Although no longer an active monastery, it does contain an intriguing museum which clearly portrays the monastic life which would have taken place here many years ago. The architecture is simply beautiful, and is certainly the finest example of Catalonion gothic architecture to be found.
The area of Les Corts is easy to reach, with regular bus and train services dropping you off close to the stadium. With 100,000 football fans regularly turning up, you’d expect nothing less than an efficient transport link! The best ways to reach Les Corts from the city center are the L3 green line metro service. There are also busses, although you’ll find that this doesn’t cover the Pedralbes district - busses here tend to be rather infrequent, and you could find waiting for a taxi rather, well, taxing. However, as it isn’t a long walk from the stadium, and the scenery and neighborhood is beautiful, this shouldn’t pose a problem.
I would recommend Les Corts as an nice place to stay if you’re planning a very quiet holiday in Barcelona, but for football fans it is an absolute must for at least a day’s visit.
Start your personal sightseeing tour in Ciutat Vella.
Cuitat Vella, Barcelona’s “old town” is right in the middle of the city … a perfect starting place to begin your personal tour. This area, which long ago was separated from Barcelona’s other villages by ancient Roman walls, includes four districts (Barrio Gotico, Raval, El Borne and Barceloneta), each of which includes sights worth visiting.
Make Barrio Gotico your first stop. Considered to be the most heavily Gothic area on the European continent, it is also the oldest part of Barcelona, an intriguing and dense maze of shops, cafes, open and inviting squares and buildings dating back several hundred years, many of which were actually constructed over a two hundred year period between the 13th and 15th century. Interestingly and amazingly, many of these buildings remain surprisingly intact … a wonder to see. Barrio Gotico is flush with many interesting sights that need to be seen. These include …
Catedral de la Seu - this ancient cathedral is one of the most impressive and very best examples of Catalan Gothic architecture.
Plaza del Rei (Royal Square) - dating back hundreds of years to medieval times, this charming, “must-see” square is a true architectural wonder.
Conjunt Monumental de la Place del Rei - here, in the heart of Ciutat Vella, is the museum that artfully and completely recounts Barcelona’s long and fascinating history. A walk through this remarkable museum will give you access to the most extensive collection of underground Roman ruins available anywhere in Europe.
Plaza de Sant Jaume - here, for your personal enjoyment, is one of the grandest and most magnificent squares in all of Barcelona – home to the Palau de Generalitat (Cataluna’s stately Government Palace) and Casa de la Ciutat (the Ajuntament de Barcelona, also known as Barcelona Town Hall).
Museu de Calçat - If you’ve never been to a “shoe museum,” this is one stop you can’t afford to pass up. It’s fascinating, unusual, different and totally enjoyable.
Take A Break …
Stop and Enjoy Las Ramblas.
Your personal tour should lead you directly to the tree-lined tourist mecca of Las Ramblas, a very pleasant part of town that stretches all the way down to Barcelona’s trendy harbor from the Plaza Cataluna.
This is the perfect time to take a break at an outdoor café and enjoy the passing pedestrian scene as you sip a coffee or eat a light lunch. But, don’t sit too long. You still have lots to do and see … beginning with your next destination – Raval.
Many locals think of Raval as the real Barcelona. You can decide when you get there … because you will find much to see and do. For instance, in Raval, you can visit …
MACBA (Barcelona’s Contemporary Art Museum) and CCCB (Barcelona’s Contemporary Art Center) … this is “heaven-on-earth” for those who love and appreciate the best in contemporary and avant-garde art. And you can make both stops in a single visit.
Gothic Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu - Gothic architecture is dominant in many parts of Barcelona. And this is one of the most stunning and noteworthy examples of this unique architectural art form.
Here, in Raval, you will also be able to see the spectacular and visually-splendid Palau Guell, one of Antonio Gaudi’s earliest works. It is located in a prominent position for all to see on Nou de la Rambla Street. Don’t miss it.
Make El Borne (La Ribera) your next stop. This district, which also dates back to medieval times, and once extended almost to Barcelona’s harbor, features many sights worth seeing, such as:
Santa Caterina Market - built way back in 1848, renovated and renewed in the 1990s, it is a huge fresh produce market and a fun and fascinating destination for every visitor to the city. What is particularly noteworthy about Santa Caterina Market is that the archaeological remains of the ancient Santa Caterina convent were discovered here when renewal took place in the 1990s. This was a very important archaeological discovery.
Museo Picasso - Barcelona’s most visited art museum and home of one of its very best art collections features some of Picasso’s very best works. You won’t want to miss it.
Parc de Ciutadella - tucked away from the hustle and bustle of El Borne, the Park offers a green respite and a pleasant retreat from the rigors of sightseeing. There is a lot to do and see – and enjoy – for the entire family, especially the children.
Santa Maria del Mar - after you leave the park, stop at church. But, keep this in mind: it’s not just any church. In fact, Santa Maria del Mar is probably the most beautiful Gothic church in all of Barcelona. Your visit there will be memorable.
Believe it or not, there are still many sights to see in Ciutat Vella. Continue your walking tour with a stopover at Barcelona’s beautiful port area.
The beneficiary of a major renovation project in the 1990s, the port today is trendy and features museums and activities that make it especially fun to visit for children. It also gives you an insight into the city’s long and proud maritime history. There are many sights worth seeing. These include:
L’Aquarium - a magnificent water-borne museum for oceanic mammals and sea life, it is also one of the world’s most important Mediterranean-themed aquariums.
Museu d’Historia de Cataluna - stop here and take a fascinating tour back through Cataluña’s long and interesting history.
Museu Maritim - this is one of the city’s finest museums … and it’s where you will learn all about Barcelona’s nautical history.
Platja de Barceloneta - if you enjoy sun, surf and sand, you won’t have to go far to find it. Barcelona’s most popular – and populous - -beach is within easy walking distance of all major hotels and vacation apartments.
Barcelona has often enjoyed spurts of heavy architectural development throughout its long history. Excellent examples of this can be found in Eixample district.
As you begin to leave Ciutat Vella and venture inland, you are likely to encounter the incredible Sagrada Familia, Antonio Gaudi’s magnificent and memorable unfinished church. One of the most extraordinary sights in all of Barcelona, it must be seen to be appreciated.
It’s time to move on to Montjuic.
Nicknamed “the mount of museums,” Montjuic is well-known for its many sport complexes (built expressly for the 1992 Olympic Games), its exhibition pavilions, its trade halls and its spectacular gardens (which were planted for the 1929 Universal Exhibition). There is so much to see and do here, you will need to set aside an entire day just to explore and enjoy. Here are the main sights:
MNAC - this is the National Musuem of Art of Cataluna and it is where you will find truly outstanding exhibits and examples of Roman and Gothic Cataluña art.
Fundacio Joan Miro - Spain’s “other” 20th century titan of the art world, and a Cataluña “favorite son” is well represented here with an unrivalled collection of many of his finest works of art.
Poble Espanol - Spain’s remarkable architectural achievements are well represented in this enjoyable open air museum. Visitors will also enjoy the museum’s craft workshops.
L’Anella Olimpica - Barcelona proudly hosted the 1992 Summer Olympic Games and this site is the historical reminder of that unforgettable event.
Jardin Botanic - stop here for a pleasant, relaxing - and visually stunning – break from the day’s sightseeing. It’s a welcome respite.
If you think you’re finished … you’re not.
Estadi Camp Nou - this is the modern stadium of Barcelona’s world-class football (soccer) club – Barça - and a must-see for those who enjoy the game. Located in Les Corts and no more than 20 minutes from downtown Barcelona, the stadium is one of the largest in Europe.
Parc Guell - far from downtown Barcelona, but well worth the trip, this playful, fairy-tale park, situated on a large tract of land, is one of Antonio Gaudi’s best-loved and finest contributions to Barcelona and its people. It’s magnificent and a wonderful place for parents and children. Plus, visitors can take the time to buy traditional Catalan souvenirs at very affordable prices.
There are many more sightseeing treasures located in and around Barcelona, something to please every taste. All you need to do is decide what you like …. then arrange to go and see it.
From historical museums to art museums … Roman ruins to Gothic churches … open air squares to fun-filled theme parks – Barcelona is a sightseer’s dream destination. Come here … visit our best sites … enjoy. It’s definitely worth the trip.