Rome's other big winner - the stadium

Thu May 28, 2009 9:41am EDT
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By Mark Meadows

ROME (Reuters Life!) - Barcelona were not the only winners in Rome on Wednesday night. The city's Olympic Stadium also emerged from the Champions League final covered with glory.

The pitch was especially in perfect condition, allowing treble winners Barca to stroke the ball around in their trademark style and easily beat holders Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday.

Despite having AS Roma or Lazio play there every week for the past nine months, the surface was as smooth as a Xavi pass.

Fans make atmospheres, but only in great stadiums can an occasion really come to life and the 67,000 sellout produced some wonderful color from United's Matt Busby tribute to the sea of red, blue and yellow at the Barca end.

Roma and Lazio are considering building their own stadiums and the future of the Olimpico is uncertain. Despite the running track which leaves fans a little away from the action, the pair will struggle to construct anything as monumental.

United coach Alex Ferguson is probably bemoaning the running track, which kept him a good distance from the pitch.

He rarely ventured out into his huge technical area to bark

orders as his team put in one of the weakest performances their fans will be able to remember in a big match.   Continued...

<p>Barcelona fans fly their flags before their Champions League final soccer match against Manchester United at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, May 27, 2009. REUTERS/Tony Gentile</p>