I think I can say without hyperbole that for soccer nuts, today is like Christmas, Fourth of July, and the Super Bowl all rolled into one—only 100 million times bigger. It's the UEFA Champions League Final Day ... and you stupid Yanks are stuck at work!

How big is this game? The man you see in the picture here is the referee for tonight's match. He got to meet the Pope. The freakin' ref gets an audience with the Pope. That's how big.

(Also, there have been at least two stabbings in Rome today because of this game; one of the victims being an American who was mistaken for being British. Man, U.S. citizens just can't catch a break over there.)

Man U is the defending champion, has a 25-game league unbeaten streak, and the FIFA Player of the Year in Cristiano Ronaldo. Barcelona has two titles of their own, are reigning Spanish champs, and have the FIFA Player of the Year runner-up in Lionel Messi. Imagine if Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were on teams that were good enough to actually reach the pinnacle of their sport and it would still be nothing like this.

And that pretty much exhausts my knowledge of international soccer, but it's still exciting because I will watch any competition as long as it's on TV, especially when there's a chance that players, fans, coaches, announcers, and possibly a monarch or two will completely lose their shit at the outcome. (Just ask Chelsea.) So rejoice, hooligans! The comments belong to you now.


Gamecast: Barcelona vs Manchester United [ESPN GameCast]
Manchester United supporter stabbed in Rome [Guardian]
Champions League final one for the ages [The Roar]