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Barcelona basks in European glory

Players celebrate Champions League win with open-top bus parade

Barcelona's soccer players celebrated victory in the Champions League with a parade through the city's streets on an open-top bus on Sunday. The Catalan team defeated Manchester United 3-1 in the final of the European club tournament at London's Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Thousands of fans lined the streets of the Catalan capital for the parade, which was scheduled to culminate in a party at the Camp Nou at 9pm. The stadium's doors opened at 6pm to allow access to fans, but had to be closed an hour later after it filled up.

The trophy- the fourth in the club's history, having first won the top prize in European club soccer against Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992- was lifted by Eric Abidal, who had miraculously fought back from liver cancer surgery in March to play in the final. The win places the team on equal footing with Bayern Munich and Ajax Amsterdam, below Liverpool (five wins), Milan (seven) and Real Madrid (nine), and confirms Pep Guardiola's side as the best team in world club soccer and one of the best of all time.

"I never saw Di Stéfano's Madrid nor Pelé's Santos," said the coach. "We try to play the best we can, and if in 15 or 20 years people remember having enjoyed this team, we will be proud."

The match also offered further proof of Argentinean forward Lionel Messi's status as the best player in the world today. The number 10 put in another exceptional performance, scoring Barcelona's second goal after Pedro had put it ahead after 27 minutes and Wayne Rooney had equalized for Manchester United seven minutes later. David Villa sealed the match for the Catalans with a superbly curled strike into the corner of Edwin Van der Sar's goal.