x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Barcelona make it a fantastic fifth in 2009

Five down, one to go. Barcelona had already lifted the Primera Liga, Copa del Rey, Champions League and Spanish Super Cup in 2009.

Barcelona's captain Carlos Puyol, centre, lifts the European Super Cup after defeating Shakhtar at Louis II stadium in Monaco.
Barcelona's captain Carlos Puyol, centre, lifts the European Super Cup after defeating Shakhtar at Louis II stadium in Monaco.

Five down, one to go. Barcelona had already lifted the Primera Liga, Copa del Rey, Champions League and Spanish Super Cup in 2009. The Catalans added the European Super Cup to their haul on Friday night with a 1-0 extra time win over Shaktar Donetsk in Monaco. Penalties were looming at the end of an insipid encounter, which saw Barca dominate the Uefa Cup winners, before midfielder Pedro Rodriquez's strike. The Canary Islander, 22, was the team's top scorer pre-season and he worked cleverly with Lionel Messi before finally breaching the Ukrainians' defence in the 115th minute.

"Pedro took his chance very well and, of course, I am delighted for him - and with him," said coach Pep Guardiola. "But I don't make players, I can only encourage them and help them, but he scored an excellent goal and it gave us victory in a very tough match. Like Bojan [Krkic] he has the chance to do well for us and he is part of a very good squad here." Messi had been crowned Uefa Club Footballer of the Year at Uefa's awards a day earlier, with team mate Xavi named best midfielder. Messi may have outshone the patchy Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Monaco, but the Argentinian was fortunate only to receive a yellow card in final minute of normal time for a butt.

Guardiola's side have won all five competitions they have entered this season. Only December's Fifa Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi can prevent them becoming the first club to win six trophies in one year, by which time Guardiola hopes Barca will be fitter after they laboured in the heat on a bumpy Monaco pitch. "We were two seconds too slow tonight, but it's August," explained the Barca coach. "People are partying, there are boats in the harbour, people are on holiday.

"It's not like in April or May when you are firing on all cylinders, but we will get there. We have already won two trophies this week and the league season has not begun yet. But we will improve, there is a long way to go." Barca will be strengthened by the arrival of Ukrainian central defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy, 22, who ironically played against the Catalans before his ?25 million (Dh130m) was finalized.

He becomes the seventh central defender to sign for Barca in as many years, a position Guardiola admits has continually troubled the club. Chygrynskiy will be the last signing before Barca's league campaign commences on Monday with the visit of Sporting Gijon.