Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

It all ended up a bit Messi

Lionel Messi of Barcelona

It's a big two fingers up to all those who felt that my leanings towards the men in red and black would mean I would give the briefest of mentions to Saturday night's big encounter.

You under-estimate me, I'm a much fairer, open-minded creature than that, so it's well done to Armagh and as for Down, there's always the back door.

Sadly, there was no such escape route for Man Utd, even with their worst team for a generation still miles better than anything else these islands can provide, but a million miles behind Barca.

Thankfully Saturday night did solve a few unanswered questions. Is Michael Carrick as good as Xavi, (no) is an unnamed Premiership footballer over-hyped (yes) and without much rebuilding does United's long-term future look about as secure as a timeshare salesman in Iceland (very much so).

But there were many other questions to be answered, as to who won the big battle, ITV or Sky, and a bit like Fergie, I can't find a solution, but sure have a read and make your own mind up, I'm away to watch So You Think You Can Dance.

Adrian Chiles v Jeff Stelling: Jeff was given a good hour's start as Sky, naturally, ripped the complete backside out of it, while Adrian patiently awaited the end of Britain's Got The Funniest Animals on Ice Factor.

Clever word play, naturally enough from Countdown's Jeff, with bedding puns about Lionel Messi in a chat with Eidur Gudjohnsen. "What gets him down, Eidur?" Boom, boom!

Meanwhile, Chiles was Chiles, happier than a dog with two dangling things, and so excited that Roy Keane was there and hadn't punched him yet.

"Will Guardiola say stop messing about (no, because he's not Kenneth Williams) with the fancy flicks and stick it in the onion bag?" No Adrian, he won't.

Redknapp v Redknapp: Of all the hyperbole, much if it warranted, regarding Mr Messi, it was worth bringing 'Arry in for surely the line of this or any other night.

"You'd expect to see him standing in a betting shop in the afternoon having a fag." Genius. And Lionel isn't bad either.

As for Redknapp junior, the tightness of his trousers was clearly affecting his brain.

"My advice would be to stay in Barcelona for as long as possible." Thanks for that Jamie, and I'm sure when Pep wants the advice of a one-time Carling Cup winner he'll ask for it.

Biased Man Utd former pro v biased Man Utd former pro: Keano, much too hard to wear a tie, even if it was the biggest sporting event ever, up against Gary Neville. They would bring much biting inside knowledge to proceedings, or that's what it said on the tin.

In reality we got the exclusive from Roy about Dimitar Berbatov's axing - 'he will be very disappointed' and from Gary a fly on the wall revelation of life in the dressing room pre-kick-off. "Getting their shin-pads on, having a drink, using the toilet, simple things." Like myself then, minus the shin-pads.

GS v GS: Gareth Southgate v Graeme Souness. Hmm, I wonder who would win that tussle? Nice of Chiles to ask Gareth 'how would you beat Barcelona'. Funnily, he didn't reply 'well, I'd have to get my job back at Middlesbrough and then we've a tricky game at Barnsley first'.

As for Souey, it's nice to see the softer side of a man who would have raked his studs down the back of Bambi's mum, fawning over Barca and Messi, saying 'there's an argument that he's the best ever.' I'm not arguing with you.

Clive Tyldesley v Martin Tyler: Congratulations to Barca, worthy European champions and well done to Clive, undisputed World Straw Clutching champion 2011.

"If you look at the stats, they've been level for more than half the match," he said with hope in his heart but was very much walking alone when with nine minutes to go he added: "One evening in Barcelona some years, who knows?" Everybody except you, Clive.

As for Martin, apart from his shrilling shriek for Rooney and Messi's goals, he had it in the bag.

"United went to see the Jersey Boys last night and tonight it's Saturday Night Fever." There were no tickets left for Much Ado About Nothing.

"He's the alchemist with the formula to make goals," as Martin moved through the gears, while Clive came shuddering to a halt insisting at 2-1 that Nani 'can make an impact if he can get the small spherical thing." He did, and gave it straight to David Villa. 3-1.

Dr Who v Big Brother: Former Doctor and massive Reds fan Christopher Eccleston, a man well used to working with strange looking, alien forms with a tenuous grasp of English was the natural choice to interview Wayne Rooney. Sadly he couldn't get the Tardis cranked up to bring Roy Keane onto the pitch. As for Giggsy, as wags aplenty have pointed out there must have been a super injunction taken out on the commentators as he was never mentioned. Makes you wonder what Ji-Sung Park and Michael Carrick have been up to though.

Britain's Got Talent v Take Your Pique: It turns out that it didn't have enough talent and the fact that Channel Four was showing Titanic was perhaps a better indication of what was to come. But Gerard Pique was too busy ripping the net off the posts to worry about TV. Had he been Scottish, he'd have had it down in half the time but it makes you wonder what he does with Shakira's fishnets.

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