There has been dancing on the streets of Barcelona. While football fans paraded a model of the Champions League Trophy Barcelona’s players were lifting the real thing in Rome, after deposing the holders Manchester United in the final. Police estimated 100,000 supporters had gathered in Barcelona’s Catalonia Square two watch their heroes win an historic treble.
Above the din one fan said: “It’s the best present I’ve ever had.” But just a few hours after the final whistle, the celebrations turned ugly. Rioters smashed windows and traffic lights, and set rubbish containers alight. They hurled bottles and stones at police, who responded with rubber bullets to disperse the crowds. Several injured revellers were taken to hospital. Police made more than 40 arrests. In Manchester, the mood became increasingly gloomy as fans realised United were not going to hold onto the trophy they won last year. But among the disappointment there was recognition for Barcelona. One fan said: “We don’t mind when we are beaten by a better team and tonight unfortunately we were.” “I don’t care what Barça did today. We are still the very, very best,” said another. But the match that had been previewed as a “dream” final, turned out more of a nightmare in the bars or Manchester.