At the turn of the year, it looked as though patience with head coach Luis Enrique was about to run out. It was a far cry from the ecstatic scenes that we witnessed in Berlin just six months later when Barca lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy. Victory over Juventus complemented Barca’s Liga and Copa del Rey triumphs and completed a second “triplete” for the club.
When David Moyes’ Real Sociedad side defeated Barcelona in January, it seemed as though the writing was on the wall for Enrique. The world’s greatest player sat out the first half on the substitute’s bench and all did not appear to be well at Camp Nou.
Fast forward towards the end of the season. The camaraderie, spirit and—most importantly—form was back. Perhaps chastened by the whole experience, the Barcelona that came through a winter of discontent were a much tougher, more together team than the one that had started the season.
Barça possess perhaps the greatest attacking trio in the world at the moment in Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. If they can take the form that they displayed since January into next season, there is every chance that the Blaugrana could become the first side to successfully defend their Champions League title – click here to see how you could potentially see history being made.
Amid the celebratory scenes following the 3-1 win over Juve, Gerard Pique was spotted performing his now familiar post-match ritual of cutting away the netting from the Olympiastadion goalposts.
Perhaps inspired by the Barcelona basketball team’s action of cutting down the netting after a European triumph, the Catalan collected the same peculiar trophy from Wembley Stadium in 2011 after a UCL final victory over his former teammates at Manchester United.
His souvenir from Berlin is not destined for a personal museum of football nets, though. It has emerged that Pique cut them down for an entirely different reason.
International fixtures meant that Pique was unable to attend the wedding of a close friend. In a touching gesture, Pique gave the netting to his friend as a gift to celebrate his marriage. Mundo Deportivo in Spain reported that the gift went even further: each guest at the wedding was given a piece of Champions League final netting as a memento of the day.