In a sensational development following Barcelona’s win over Manchester United on Saturday, Michel Platini, the President of UEFA has decided to hand Arsenal a trophy for having been the only team in the Champions League to have beaten Barcelona. Robin Van Persie and Andrey Arshavin had found the net for the Gunners in the first leg against Barcelona after falling behind for a David Villa goal early on. The result meant that Arsenal are the only team in the entire Champions League to have beaten Barcelona in either a home or away match this season. Speaking to reporters at a hurriedly assembled press conference, Platini elaborated on the issue.
“The present Barcelona team are being considered to be the best team to have ever played football. And this season, all the players have been performing at their peak. With this being the situation, it is only fair to show our appreciation to the only team that has beaten Barcelona in Europe this season – Arsenal.”
Platini also said that the trophy would be handed to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal at a special ceremony to mark the occasion sometime early next week.
“This is not exactly a trophy per se. It is more like a plaque in the shape of the words “We Beat Barcelona” and Arsenal at the bottom of the plaque. But it is definitely worth being treated as a trophy. Like I said, beating Barcelona this season has been extremely tough and for a team that did accomplish it, they do deserve it.”
When asked by one of the reporters if this is a fair thing to do, considering that Arsenal had not actually won any tournament as such, Platini responded:
“You are right that way. Arsenal has definitely not won any tournament here.” He paused for a while and said softly, as if to himself, “Damn. That was the most redundant statement I have ever made.” Then he continued, “This trophy or plaque that we are giving them should be considered differently. It is like a posthumous award. Or like an honorary degree. It is like getting inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame AFTER you are dead. It doesn’t count for anything but still we are showing our appreciation of your efforts.”
Arsene Wenger was overjoyed with the announcement. Within minutes of hearing it on TV, he called a big press conference including all major sports journalists of every newspaper in England.
“This is to let the entire football world know that Arsenal has officially ended its trophy drought which has lasted for more than 6 years. This proves that we do have a side that is capable of winning trophies. And we have won this trophy by beating the best team on this planet. That makes this trophy even better. In fact, I would rate this trophy as the best trophy I have ever won in my managerial career. We have created a separate compartment in our trophy cabinet for this special trophy. The players should be really proud of themselves. They have put in a lot of effort into this and it is good to see that in the end it is all paying off.”
“Beating Barcelona was definitely no mean feat. I had to bring in all my experience as a manager who doesn’t win trophies, in order to find a way to beat Barcelona. The boys played a wonderful game. This is such a young team with such inexperience of big games. And for them to win this trophy means a lot to them as well. Even the fans can rest assured now knowing that their beloved team has won a trophy.”
When asked about the comments made by Platini that this was not a real trophy, Wenger replied, “Well, thats just like his opinion. If he knew how hard it is to beat the best team in the world when all their players are performing at their peak, then he would have assigned a trophy even before the season started. It is definitely worth awarding a trophy for being the only team to beat FC Barcelona this season in Europe.”
Cesc Fabregas had even more reason to be happy. He said, “I am extremely happy that we have been awarded this trophy. So now that I have helped Arsenal win a trophy, I hope I will be let go to join Barcelona this summer.”
Barcelona star Lionel Messi also seemed to agree with Platini’s decision to award a trophy to Arsenal. “They play some really entertaining football. And beating us this season has been hard for even the best of teams. And considering how less money was invested in the Arsenal squad, I think it is only fair that they get a trophy for beating us this season.”
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was livid when he heard about the news. “Am I the only one in Europe who thinks this is a stupid idea? How can you award a trophy to a team for winning just one game? Irrespective of who the opponent is? We won a lot more games than Arsenal in the Champions League and if anything, WE should be given a trophy for that. This is completely unfair!”
Another team that was extremely unhappy about the development was the La Liga side Real Sociedad. Real Sociedad happened to be the only other team to have beaten Barcelona this season when they won 2-1 against the reigning European Champions in April. A statement on their website said,
“We at Real Sociedad consider it extremely unfair to not be recognized as the other team to have beaten FC Barcelona this season. Irrespective of whether this is the Champions League or La Liga, Barcelona always play to win with their strongest side. And having defeated Barcelona, we feel that we also deserve a trophy commemorating our achievement. If UEFA does not grant our wishes, we will be taking up this matter with FIFA.”