It’s been a long time since I’ve looked forward to a day as much I’m looking forward to June 6.
No, I am not going on a date with that cute girl in my club. No, I am not going on vacation to Cabo. I’m not even finally going to watch “Avengers: Age of Ultron” or “Pitch Perfect 2” — that will have to wait until they’re on Netflix.
On June 6, I am getting my first chance to watch a UEFA Champions League match this season. But this won’t be just any match: It will be the final, pitting F.C. Barcelona against Juventus F.C. to determine this year’s champion of Europe.
Throughout fall and spring semester, I was unable to watch a single match of the champions league tournament. The matches were typically broadcast during the middle of the day on the West Coast, when I was either in class or at work. I was able to keep up with the tournament proceedings only via online updates and the occasional highlight video, but it simply wasn’t the same as watching a live match.
It killed me inside knowing that some of my friends were actually able to watch matches because their class schedules worked in their favor. On the other hand, I have friends who kept up with the tournament by watching the games on their laptops during lectures or who simply skipped class to watch the champions league unfold, with little regard for the day’s course material. Deep inside, I wish I could have disregarded lectures the way they did, but I was scared that my conscience and potential bad grades would come back to haunt me at the end of the semester.
Last year, the scheduling gods allowed me to keep up with my beloved Real Madrid’s champions league odyssey as it pursued its highly coveted 10th crown. Los Blancos’ final match against their crosstown rival, Atlético Madrid, kept me on the edge of my seat. Real was trailing, 1-0, in stoppage time, thanks to then-Atlético Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’s amazing, world-class saves. Real kept trying to get on the scoreboard while Atlético hung on for dear life, but then Spanish international Sergio Ramos leveled the score with a header in the 93rd minute of stoppage time. Madrid’s offensive onslaught in extra time saw it emerge victorious, 4-1, to finally claim its long-awaited 10th champions league cup.
This year, I was hoping that Real Madrid would reach the champions league final because I wanted to see one of the best squads — if not the best squad — in the world showcase its skills as it attempted to become a back-to-back champion. Alas, Los Blancos did not reach the final because they were eliminated by Juventus in the semifinals.
I’m not that disappointed, however, because Barcelona vs. Juventus looks to be a very promising final with very interesting storylines.
The dangerous trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez will lead Barcelona to battle against the Italian powerhouse looking to return to European prominence. It will be very interesting to see how Suarez performs against Juventus’ Giorgio Chiellini and Patrice Evra. The Uruguayan international has history with both of the Old Lady’s defenders. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Suarez did something controversial to make headlines once again — much like he did with Evra and Chiellini before he joined the Catalan club.
The countdown to June 6 continues. It is going to be a day that will see either Barcelona capture its fifth champions league title or Juventus secure its treble to assert its return to the top of European soccer.
I’ve waited too long to watch a champions league match this season, and I’ll flip a table if anything causes me to miss what should be the match of 2015.
Manny Flores is the assistant sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].