Tens of thousands celebrate victory in Barcelona

Barcelona: Tens of thousands of fans burst into the steets of Barcelona chanting "Champions! Champions!" as Barca beat Manchester United 3-1 to grab the Champions League crown.

Some 35,000 people packed the streets, according to police figures, gripped by yesterday`s action in London`s Wembley Stadium displayed on a giant screen at city`s Triumphal Arch.

They erupted into cheers, launched fireworks and brandished imitation trophies as first Pedro, then Lionel Messi and finally David Villa banged the ball into the net.

At the final whistle the entire city exploded into a din of car horns and trumpets. Joyful city-dwellers hurled firecrackers into the streets from balconies.

"Barca! Barca! chanted supporters dressed in the blue- and claret-striped Barcelona team shirts as they waved team flags.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique cheered his team on Twitter and said the squad will go to a concert by his girlfriend Shakira who is playing in Barcelona on Sunday.

"Champions!! Champions!! thank you so much!!" Pique wrote. "Tomorrow at Barcelona and then the players will go to @shakira concert in the Olympic Stadium!!"

The 24-year-old Pique, a former Manchester United player, met Shakira last year while shooting the video to her song "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" -- the official track of the 2010 World Cup won by Spain.

"How long it lasts, whether they can replace that team at a certain point, who knows? But they certainly have the philosophy," Ferguson said.

"It`s always difficult to say whether you`ll be able to replace players like Xavi and Iniesta at a certain point. Probably not. But they are enjoying the moment and they deserve to because they play football the right way."

With typical defiance, Ferguson insisted United would be determined to learn lessons from the defeat and seek to come back stronger next season.

He compared the loss to the famous 4-0 drubbing United received from Barcelona at the Nou Camp in 1994, a result which helped redefine his team`s approach to European competitions.

"It`s not going to be easy, but that`s the challenge," Ferguson said. "You shouldn`t be afraid of a challenge. The one thing we have shown is that we are consistent in Europe.

"This may be the kind of stepping stone that we had some years ago when we got beaten 4-0. We improved after that and we want to improve after tonight."

Bureau Report

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