It was only two years before that Josep Guardiola’s Barcelona side had outmanoeuvred Sir Alex Ferguson’s United in the 2009 decider. They were to meet again, this time at Wembley, scene of Barcelona’s maiden European Cup success 19 years earlier, after United had enjoyed a resounding 6-1 aggregate victory against Schalke in the semi-finals.
Barça, meanwhile, saw off domestic rivals Real Madrid with the help of two late first-leg goals from Lionel Messi in the Spanish capital. Both finalists had already been crowned domestic champions by the time of their showdown in north London.
What Sir Alex had previously described as Barcelona’s “passing carousel” left United even dizzier than in Rome two years earlier. So often the Blaugrana’s conductor, Xavi Hernández played in Pedro Rodríguez for the opening goal on 27 minutes.
Though Rooney’s excellent side-footed finish swiftly drew United level, the second half turned out to be a one-sided affair. Messi’s precise low shot to restore Barcelona’s advantage on 54 minutes was a superb effort, but even the Argentinian was outdone shortly afterwards when Villa curled in from long range to rubber-stamp the win.