Champions League Final, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez | Barca Top 5

Thank you Cristiano! You have made a better Lionel Messi | Sport

For too many months, Messi had to bear many questions, both from Madrid and Barcelona. People started to say and write that he was finished. And that the time had arrived where he should be sold. He was being accosted by the Hacienda and by enemies of Barcelona, sinking in sadness. Until the provocative call of Cristiano Ronaldo made him react.

Knowledge is power, aka “The secret of my success" | Barcelona Football Blog

Barça plays football that seems almost telepathic. Other teams train as hard, work on possession and all of the same stuff that Barça does in its trainings. Other teams work on fitness, do all of the same things. There is talk of triangles, but every team in top-flight club football will manifest triangles at some point. So what is it about the automatic behaviors, the knowledge of self and teammates that makes these things, when applied by Barça, unstoppable?

Lionel Messi out to make history against Juventus |

Should the Barça No10 register against Juventus in Berlin, he will become the first player to score in three UEFA Champions League finals, having netted against Manchester United FC in 2009 and 2011. By finding the target against the Bianconeri, Messi would eclipse the likes of Raúl González, former Blaugrana team-mate Samuel Eto'o and the joint-top scorer this term, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ivan Rakitic: We’re only thinking about winning |

To be honest, I didn’t want to set my hopes too high when I joined Barcelona. My approach wasn’t to have big dreams [about what might happen], instead I focused on savouring the experience. But I was also very aware that to be a regular starter you have to earn it. At Sevilla I always wanted to play, often even when I was injured, going against medical opinion, and that’s always been my attitude: to grit my teeth and be ready whenever I’m needed. That’s what I work for and what I live for too.

Can Luis Suarez Reedem Himself From Patrice Evra, Giorgio Chiellini Incidents? | Barca Blaugranas

The final, in which Luis Suarez will play against two players he wronged, provides a very fitting backdrop to finish the year of personal and professional progress - if he can seize the moment. His sniping towards Evra even as recently as last fall has shown the striker is still, of course, not a completely changed man.

Support: Camp Nou Tickets | Messi Charity | Shop | Join Us
Follow: Facebook | Twitter | ESPN | Weloba