Pep, Pep, hooray! Barcelona coach Guardiola is walking on air
28 May 2009 01:39
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Pep Guardiola claimed that his triumphant Barca team will become the envy of Europe after sealing their third major trophy of the season.
The Barcelona coach claimed this is only the beginning of a journey with one of the best club sides seen in European competition for the last 30 years.
Guardiola, who has been in the job only a year after replacing Frank Rijkaard, said: 'Next season we want to be back in the final playing a different team. What is so rewarding is that we have done it playing a certain way and we have never deviated from that. We were not cowards against United. I told the players that they could not be afraid of the world champions. We stood up to them.
'The stadium at Manchester United is called the Theatre of Dreams, so I think we can have a little prestige considering we have just beaten the best team in the world.
'They are a great team but they just had a bad day and we took advantage of that. We have given the Catalan people exactly what they wanted and now we can celebrate with our people.
'We can enjoy it for a few days and we will, but we are getting close to some great names in European competition now. We have to match them.'
Guardiola dedicated the victory to retiring AC Milan left back Paolo Maldini, whose farewell to the San Siro last weekend was marred when fans claimed he was a traitor to their cause.
Guardiola, who faced Maldini many times when he was at Roma and Brescia, added: 'He is a true great of the game and what happened to him by 20, 30 or 40 supporters was wrong. I dedicated this triumph to him.'
Thierry Henry, who lost the final with Arsenal at the Stade de France when they were beaten by Barcelona in 2006, claimed they had just beaten the best team in the world.
The Barcelona striker said: 'Finally - I've waited so long for this, finally. The last five minutes were the longest of my life. We were 2-0 up but we were playing the best team in the world so you never know.
'You have to respect Manchester United because they got to the final again.United were the best team for the first 10 minutes but then we started passing the ball. This team is unbelievable. It was my daughter Tea's birthday so it is a double celebration for me.
'Arsenal are in my heart and blood and the Champions League defeat with them was the disappointment of my career but tonight I am happy.'