It is not discussed often, but there is a deep and rich tradition of manager celebrations in high-level soccer, a veritable catalog of sideline revelry. On various occasions — and with varying degrees of dignity — men in suits have danced a jig, pretended to use a lasso and hydroplaned on their knees as if their coaching box had morphed into a water ride. Just a few months ago, one man in charge even ripped his trousers in a particularly robust fit of exuberant histrionics.
Late Saturday, then, Luis Enrique, Barcelona’s first-year manager, happily wrote his name alongside José Mourinho (the slide) and Pep Guardiola (the pants). Shortly after watching one of his top forwards, Luis Suárez, score what would turn out to be the decisive goal of the Champions League final, Luis Enrique, a Spaniard with a generally measured temperament, took off on a dead sprint while wildly waving his arms in a manner that suggested they had suddenly been attached to a pair of electric fans.
Perhaps someday there will be a name attached to Luis Enrique’s machinations — the Windmill? — but, for this evening, the sight was enough. Luis Enrique’s merriment was the start to a Spanish party that continued long into the night as Barcelona won its fifth European championship, and fourth in 10 years, with a 3-1 victory over Juventus at the Olympiastadion.
Fittingly enough, Suárez and Neymar, two of Barcelona’s superstar scoring trio, scored in the final, while Lionel Messi, who may be the brightest of the group, played a role in both goals. The three attackers, who some have referred to as a trident, combined for 122 goals this season, powering Barcelona to a so-called treble: La Blaugrana previously won the Spanish league and cup titles before claiming the Champions League, too. Barcelona last won all three titles in 2008-9, and it is the only club to have claimed trebles in different seasons.
“These players have shown that they do not get tired of winning,” Luis Enrique said.
For Juventus, the Italian champion, the defeat was a disappointing finish to a season that also produced league and cup trophies. Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus’s manager, made no secret of his delight at the Old Lady, as Juventus is known, simply making the final; he said his dream before the season had been to reach the quarterfinals. Once it was in the title match, however, Allegri — and Juventus fans — could not help dreaming of pulling off the upset.
The Juventus players, particularly the goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon, were certainly game. Buffon did his best to stem the inevitable Barcelona onslaught (he made five saves), but Juventus wilted where so many of Barcelona’s opponents this season did: on defense.
“There were the chances to equalize, but Barcelona have three amazing players in attack,” Allegri said. “You have to take your opportunities.”
For most soccer fans, the match was a welcome reprieve from the controversy that has enveloped the sport since the Swiss police, working in concert with United States law enforcement officials, executed a dawn raid at a Zurich hotel late last month. The police sweep, which came just before FIFA’s annual meeting, resulted in several high-ranking FIFA executives’ being arrested and set for extradition on various corruption charges.
Andrés Iniesta, who earned man of the match honors with an authoritative performance in the midfield, said: “I’m lost for words. I can’t begin to express how proud we are to belong to this club.”
Álvaro Morata did give Juventus hope — and the game some energy — with his goal just before the hour, but Neymar’s sharp finish deep into stoppage time was the final kick of the match and, in many ways, was the perfect coda to a season that has been largely about where, exactly, Barcelona’s scorers fit into the annals of soccer history.
Many have debated whether Messi, Suarez and Neymar should be held above, say, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten, who starred for A.C. Milan in the late 1980s, but on Saturday, understandably, the focus was more on the moment.
“Actually, the season isn’t over yet,” Luis Enrique said shortly after the final whistle. “There’s a long night ahead and, tomorrow, the parade.”