BARCELONA 3 JUVENTUS 1
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique paid tribute to Luis Suarez after he fired Barcelona to Champions League glory last Saturday night but admitted he had harboured doubts about how well the striker would adapt following his move from Liverpool.
The 28-year-old scored the decisive goal in the 3-1 victory over Juventus in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium to seal a magnificent personal climax to a season that had begun in such ignominy as he saw out a four-month ban imposed for biting an opponent during Uruguay’s World Cup campaign.
The victory meant Barcelona matched the feat of the 2009 side in winning the domestic double and the Champions League, their fifth European Cup success.
Luis Enrique said: “When we thought about Luis Suarez and considered him we knew of his great quality and his tremendous scoring figures but of course we had doubts about whether he would adapt to a different team and a different way of play.
“As it has turned out he has been one of the best players we have ever signed and it was a very good decision to put our trust in him. We paid a lot of money but he has shown he has tremendous hunger.”
For many Barca players this was a second La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble. The club paid at least 80 million euros for the striker and for the Uruguayan it was a completely new experience.
“It’s incredible, it’s unique – it’s a dream,” he said. “If you want to win the Champions League then you have to suffer, it’s not the same if you don’t. We suffered and won.”
“We played hard in the league, and in the cup. Now we have the Champions League too. We have shown humility and teamwork all season long.”
It was a richly-deserved victory but Barcelona did not have it quite all their way as Juventus revived after Alvaro Morata cancelled out Ivan Rakitic’s early goal. But just when it looked as though Juventus might pull off a shock, Suarez struck, slamming home after Gianluigi Buffon had saved from Lionel Messi. Neymar’s low strike with the last kick of the game was just the icing on the cake.
Andres Iniesta, the captain on the night and man of the match, was the only surviving Barcelona player to have been on the field in the 2006 success over Arsenal and he admitted the decade of success the Catalan club has enjoyed since that triumph in Paris.
He said: “It makes my hair stand on end when you look back and see how fortunate I have been to play with FC Barcelona and achieve all these things.
“We thought it was impossible to repeat our treble of six years ago and we have managed it so we are going to enjoy fully with all our people, and then next year we will try to do it again.”