Soccer Break Wednesday – One down, one to go.

May 4, 2011

Well it looks like being a Barcelona v Manchester United final in the Champions League on May 28 after the Catalans booked their Wembley tickets on Tuesday, though Schalke 04 will have something to say about that in the penultimate match of the 2010-11 competition.

Barcelona were simply too good for Real Madrid despite the 1-1 scoreline, and you get the feeling that in this sort of form they will be hard to stop.

Although the 90 minutes were littered with niggly fouls and several acts of ‘simulation’, for the first time in four recent meetings between the bitter rivals, we saw a football match.

And it ended nicely too, with scenes of joy as Eric Abidal was hoisted aloft by his jubilant team mates. Astonishingly Abidal could feature in the final, just two months after surgery to remove the tumor from his liver. Well done that man.

The bickering will continue though especially after Cristiano Ronaldo accused the referee of a Barca bias. Ronaldo, for all his talents, appears to disappear in huge matches. Here are four ways the ‘second best player in the world’ can challenge Lionel Messi as the world’s best talent.

Barca’s next probable opponents then are Man United, a very solid outfit, and should they reach the showpiece event then we could be in for a cracking match.

Any predictions for Wednesday’s game? United will surely score to make Schalke’s uphill climb even steeper.

That said, Schalke have caused upset after upset in this year’s competition, and United have never really got going at all this season which is another testament to manager Alex Ferguson’s winning ways.

There have been more unsavoury goings on in European football this week, with the racism row in France. Read here for the latest.

To end on a positive note, the MLS is growing ever stronger and more and more children are taking up the game in the United States as a result. Read here for tips on how to get your young ones into the world’s most popular sport.

Discuss all these topics and other stories in world soccer on the Reuters Soccer Facebook page. And please feel free to send us recommendations for your pick of the day’s stories.

Picture: Barcelona’s players throw team-mate Eric Abidal (top) in the air as they celebrate beating Real Madrid to qualify for the final during their Champions League semi-final second leg soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona, May 3, 2011. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

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